IPL Lay off Steven Smith it was dallying Dhoni that cost Pune the trophy

Social media rounded on Steven Smith’s controlled innings in the IPL Final, MS Dhoni, a major culprit in RPS’s defeat, escapes criticism

Cricket Badger’s coverage of IPL 2017 brought to you in association with Bowling Master

When Dhoni joined Smith RPS were 71 for two after 11.5 overs, so 54.61% of the way towards their victory target of 130 with 59.35% of the overs bowled. They were basically on track with eight wickets in hand.

While Smith and his previous partner Ajinkya Rahane had been cautious, they had shown calm and experience in taking their team to the halfway stage without calamity.

Smith was 18 from 26 balls with one four when Dhoni joined him and the required run rate was 7.37 runs an over. With eight wickets left and 8.1 overs to bowl the chase was surely a formality.

The run-a-ball partnership of 27 between Smith and Dhoni was led by the Australian who contributed 16 from 14 deliveries as Dhoni looked scratchy for his final tally of 10 in 13 balls. This was a key period where Smith had obviously decided it was time to motor, but Dhoni was very much a passenger.

When Dhoni was out, finally trying to take the attack to Jasprit Bumrah but succeeding only in edging behind, Smith had started to collect boundaries and the chase was in complete control with 32 needed off 23 balls. You’d back the batting side in that equation every day of the week.

But Dhoni, who has been described as the world’s greatest finisher during IPl 2017, lost his head and with that failed shot piled pressure on a new batsman and Smith.

Has Dhoni got Teflon underpants as nothing seems to stick? While he has been a great of the game he failed on this occasion. While he is understandably loved, the Indian public seem to be unable to see any fault in his game. That is ridiculous.

To pick Smith out as the villain when he had steered Pune into such a commanding position seems unfair. Just because India love MS Dhoni it does not make him immune from mistakes and he must shoulder the blame this time for RPS not being IPL 2017 champions.

 

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