Should Dhoni Bat Higher For CSK? Experts Weigh In

NEW DELHI: MS Dhoni batted for the first time in IPL 2024 in Sunday night’s blockbuster clash against the Delhi Capitals. It was the first time IPL fans were seeing Dhoni bat for the first time since last year’s final.
When Dhoni walked out at Vizag, CSK needed 72 runs off 23 balls as the team chased a target of 192 runs.
Eventually, while Dhoni blasted 37 runs off 16 balls, including plundering 20 runs off the final over, Chennai fell short by 20 runs. This led lots of fans and even post-match show host Harsha Bhogle to wonder why Dhoni was coming so low down the order.
The case for Dhoni staying down the order
Former Australia captain Michael Clarke is one who believes that despite what we saw from Dhoni on Sunday, the CSK talisman will not shift up in the batting order.
“When MS Dhoni walked out, it felt like Chennai had won. Dhoni is going to be needed, there’s no doubt about it, throughout this tournament and probably needed when they’re under maximum pressure, especially if he’s going to bat where he’s batting, down so low in the order. But again, his power, his timing, from ball one, first ball come out of the middle. So yeah, it was brilliant to see MS Dhoni out here,” Clarke said on Star Sports’ Cricket Live.
He went on to explain why Dhoni won’t move up the order.
“I don’t think he will (move up the order). I think he’ll stay where he is. I think every MS Dhoni fan wants to see him as high up the order as possible. I think we’ve all said throughout his career, he should open the batting. But look, he’s at a stage of his career where he’s down from the captaincy. I don’t think he’ll come up the order. I think if there’s a game on the line and he needs to go up the order because it’s what’s best for the team, I’m sure he will. But I think just because he’s hitting the ball so well, I don’t think you’ll see him batting in the top five or top six. I think he’s a genius at the dance. He’s probably the best finisher I’ve ever seen. So, I think they’ll continue to utilize him in that role.”
The case for Dhoni coming up the order
Meanwhile, Clarke’s Australia compatriot, Steve Smith felt that Dhoni should bat higher up the order following his knock on Sunday.
“Let’s get him up the order. I think he did not miss the middle of the bat. That was just incredible to witness. I think Jadeja, throughout the other end, was actually struggling to find the middle. They bowled really well to him but MS got there on strike. Obviously, in his first ball to the boundary and then from there, he just barely missed the middle of the bat. It was great to watch and I think the fans want to see him getting up the order and keep doing it more often.”
Smith added: “Just from ball one tonight, he just struck the ball beautifully. They’re going to need him down in the lower order there. He’s not going to face too many balls each game, but the ones he is going to face are going to be crucial balls. And I’m sure he’d be practicing in the nets, going from ball one, because that’s what he’s going to need to do. And we’ve seen that he’s still so good at it.”

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