Sharjah: Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Saturday said he had to hand the ball to Ravindra Jadeja to bowl the match-deciding final over against Delhi Capitals since Dwayne Bravo, his preferred option, was not available due to fitness issues.
Capitals needed 17 runs off the final over and Bravo, who is very effective with his slower balls under such crunch situation, was off the field.
Axar Patel smacked three sixes off Jadeja to take his side past the finish line. "Bravo was not fit. He went out and didn't come back. The options were Jaddu and Karn (Sharma). I went with Jaddu," Dhoni said at the post-match presentation.
The CSK captain admitted that fielders let the side down.
"Shikhar's wicket was important but we dropped him quite a number of times. If he keeps batting, he will keep the strike rate high. Also the wicket played better in the second half, but we can't take the credit away from Shikhar," he said.
Dhawan scored his maiden IPL ton in Capitals' five wicket win.
Dhoni said the pitch behaved better when Capitals began the chase.
"There wasn't a lot of dew, but there was just enough to make the pitch better. That makes a big difference: minus 10 when you are batting, and the extra 10 for the team batting second," he said.
Dhoni was also impressed with the way young Sam Curran bowled under pressure in the 19th over. He conceded only four runs, making it as tough for DC as possible.
"A positive was Sam's last over. He needs convincing he can execute the wide yorkers. He is not usually confident with that, but today he did well with that. So that is one ball that can be difficult to hit."
Winning skipper Shreyas Iyer had every reason to smile to at the end of the match.
"I was sitting inside and I was pretty nervous. I knew if Shikhar stayed till the end, we would win, but the way Axar came out and hit those sixes, it was brilliant. Whenever we give out dressing room Man of the match awards, he is always there. You see his preparations, they are always on point," said Iyer.
"We know the strengths and weaknesses of our team very well. We enjoy each other's progress. I just told one of my team-mates today that the way Shikhar batted it was mesmerising to see. As a captain, that gives you breathing space that someone can take your team to the end."