Kolkata Knight Riders v Rising Pune Supergiants, IPL 2016, Kolkata May 14, 2016

Gambhir has Dhoni surrounded, again

Plays of the day from the IPL match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rising Pune Supergiants
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Gautam Gambhir packed the in-field to pile pressure on MS Dhoni, yet again © BCCI

The unlikely slog
Ajinkya Rahane is among the most classical of batsmen, relying on brain over brawn. Each of this six fifties this season were built on balance, placement and timing. On Saturday night against Kolkata Knight Riders, Rahane opted to test his muscle, after quietly playing out five balls for two runs. He lost his shape, looking to slog a back-of-a-length ball from Andre Russell, and only managed an inside edge that floored his off and middle stumps.

The nick that wasn't
Usman Khawaja had reprieves on 8, 9 and 22 on his IPL debut against Delhi Daredevils on May 5. He failed to cash in and was stumped off Amit Mishra for 30. Khawaja had a lifeline against Knight Riders as well. Morne Morkel banged in a short ball outside off and induced a lazy dab from the Australia opener. There was a noise as the ball passed the bat, and the bowler and wicketkeeper Robin Uthappa went up in unison. Umpire Bruce Oxenford, though, shot down the appeal. Replays and Ultra Edge later indicated a thin nick. Six balls later, Khawaja holed out to deep square leg for 21 off 17 balls. Another start squandered.

Captain under siege, part II
When MS Dhoni walked out to bat against Knight Riders last month, Gautam Gambhir put his helmet on and swooped into silly point to greet the Rising Pune Supergiants captain. Gambhir brought in a slip and a short leg as well.

In the reverse fixture, Dhoni arrived with his team at 74 for 4. Gambhir took his position at silly point again, besides adding two slips and a short leg. Knight Riders coach Jacques Kallis who was doing an interview by the sidelines at the time said that it was a plan to knock Dhoni over early and apply more pressure on Supergiants. The plan nearly worked as Dhoni feebly prodded at a loopy Piyush Chawla ball that drifted in first up, resulting in an inside edge that nearly kissed the leg stump via a deflection off the front pad.

The crazy mix-up
Sunil Narine, who returned to the Knight Riders XI after missing the team's last two games because of a finger injury, pushed one away from Dhoni with extra bounce. Dhoni reached out, stabbed to Chawla at backward point, and set off. Irfan Pathan responded to Dhoni, took a couple of steps forward, but suddenly stopped. By then, Dhoni was more than halfway down the pitch. Moreover, he was left jumping and yelling at Irfan's indecision. The allrounder, who was promoted to No. 5, eventually sacrificed his wicket as Chawla fired a flat throw to Uthappa at the striker's end. He made his way back for 7 off 8, without daring to look at his seething captain.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sayakb0114950 on May 16, 2016, 8:57 GMT

    My India team ODI: Rahane(C),Rohit,Kohli,Yuvi,Dhoni,Hardik,Krunal,Ashwin,Mishra,Bumrah,Nehra Reserve: Manish,Rahul,Bhubi,Shami,Bhajji Outside the subcontinent/WI : Replace Ashwin by Bhubi

    T-20 : Gamvir,Rohit(C),Kohli,Yuvi,Dhoni,Yusuf,Krunal,Mishra,Bhubi,Bumrah,Nehra Reserve : Raina,Rahul,Ashwin,Hardik,Sandeep Sharma Outside the subcontinent/WI : Replace Krunal by Hardik

    Tests(Sub continent/WI) : Vijay,Rahul,Pujara,Kohli(C),Rahane(VC),Saha,Jadeja,Ashwin,Mishra,Ishant,Shami Reserve : Rohit,Dhawan,Umesh,Hardik,Bhubi In Aus/SA : Vijay,Rahul,Pujara,Kohli(C),Rahane(VC),Saha,Hardik,Mishra,Ishant,Shami,Umesh Reserve : Rohit,Dhawan,Bhubi,Ashwin,Aaron In England/New Zealand : Vijay,Rahul,Pujara,Kohli(C),Rahane(VC),Saha,Hardik,Bhubi,Mishra,Ishant,Shami Reserve : Rohit,Dhawan,Sandeep Sharma,Ashwin,Umesh

  •   Arun Maya on May 16, 2016, 3:52 GMT

    agree with Kiliman. GG and his team members Pathan, Uuthappa, chawla, displaying their grudge openly to vent out their hatred against

  • Ven on May 15, 2016, 8:57 GMT

    Gambhir surrounding Dhoni is simply a case of getting back at someone who has not opted to call Gambhir in the Indian team. Sadly, in KKR there are many who have been axed from Indian team ( Yusuf, Gambhir, Piyush Chawla etc.,) and they are having some fun at someone who they think spoilt their chances in the Indian team. Gambhir is always taking potshots at Dhoni. He should concentrate on his batting to get back into the Indian team.

  • s on May 15, 2016, 8:55 GMT

    very well said @cric_smash, but only problem is that the team u mentioned doesn't need dhoni. all he does these days is create new excuses everyday, most of them don't even sound reasonable. his fans buying into his excuses is plain idol worshiping.

  • Firoz on May 15, 2016, 5:17 GMT

    Dhoni is harming himself. At first, he could retire from International Cricket after world t20 and played only IPL and other T20 league. But he wanted to continue. Now, he is not doing good with the bat and his struggle in the wicket is as clear as daylight. But, still he is making few mistakes. He is covering himself behind like Ashwin, Perera & Irfan as he is not promoting himself in batting order. He should have promoted himself in the batting order because there was a chance to get a good start and get the confidence back. I personally feel that Dhoni has achieved as a player everything and at this stage of his career he should enjoy in the middle not struggle as we have seen so far.

  • mohammad on May 15, 2016, 3:03 GMT

    Pride goes before a fall. Dhoni will now understand what he is and how much respect he will command from his players and from the spectators. Just apologize to I . Patan and give up Captaincy. Tendulkar, Dravid played under your captaincy. You now need to play under some one junior to you.

  •   Cricinfouser on May 14, 2016, 19:40 GMT

    No one thought they would be saying this but in this IPL, Dhoni has been uncharacteristically bad with both bat and his captaincy. You are supposed to be captain cool, how do you explain your reaction on that irfan pathan run out? All this anger when you are the one struggling badly against spin, of which you are supposed to be a good player. Yes your campaign has been hampered by the injuries but you cannot lose your cool when you are the captain, come forward take the blame even for others mistakes and back whatever limited resources you have and fight till death. That's what made MS a great captain, his incessant backing of his players. He seriously has lacked that in this IPL.

  • Dish on May 14, 2016, 19:33 GMT

    Dhoni's batting has decidedly gone from being great to mediocre to just plain trash.

  • cricfan19484520 on May 14, 2016, 19:14 GMT

    Well I dont know about the current squad but if I remember correctly, Pune were not winning even when they had KP, du Plessis, Smith, Marsh and if I am not wrong they were replaced by Khawaja and Bailey plus your World's Best Bowler - Ashwin and the greatest Captain of any sport ever ever ever - MSD. What else do you need - Iron Man, Wolverine, Magneto, Captain America or what?

  • James on May 14, 2016, 19:12 GMT

    May be Dhoni just needs a team like below so that he can play freely even if any wicket falls and can still win with his cool captaincy and take the credit of victory ...

    Warner,Rohit,Kohli,Abd,Dhoni,Russell/Watson,Y Pathan ,Ashwin,Nehra,Bhuvi,Mustafizz .. :)

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