Let Russell hit you for four or six, but not a single: Dhoni to Deepak Chahar
Deepak Chahar credits MS Dhoni for his valuable inputs in the IPL. © BCCI

Deepak Chahar‘s impact on defending champions Chennai Super Kings‘ successful run in IPL 2019 has been significant, and in his latest match the fast bowler was Man of the Match for taking three wickets in the win over Kolkata Knight Riders in Chennai on Tuesday.

In his first three overs, Chahar he rocked Kolkata with the wickets of Chris Lynn, Nitish Rana and Robin Uthappa. That crippling spell on a slow and low MA Chidambaram Stadium pitch helped set up Chennai’s fifth win in six matches, and Chahar said it was good to have reaped the rewards of sticking to a plan with the expert advice of MS Dhoni. (READ: I don’t think we want to be playing on low scoring tracks: MS Dhoni)

The one game in which he was expensive was the previous one versus Kings XI Punjab, also in Chennai. In that win, Chahar bowled two no-balls in a row to begin the 19th over of Punjab’s innings, which elicited a scolding from Dhoni. Chahar learned from that and immediately made amends with a match-winning spell.

“The planning for every match remains the same – to give as little width to the batsmen, especially on this slow Chennai surface,” he told iplt20.com. “The pitch was slow and I was looking to bowl straight, because as soon as the batsman sees width he will go for his shots. The plan was to bowl stump to stump, whether it was inswing or outswing, just so long as it was on the stumps to restrict the batsman’s shots. The batsman wouldn’t have been sure of what shots to play on this wicket, hence the stump-to-stump approach.”

Chahar’s first wicket was Lynn in the opening over of the game, trapped lbw after a series of in-cutters. After two length balls on the stumps, Rana saw one fractionally pitched shorter and latched on to a pull shot that went straight to Ambati Rayudu at midwicket. Uthappa was Chahar’s third wicket, pulling a slower delivery to the fielder at deep midwicket. (VIDEO: Chennai Super Kings canter to comfortable seven-wicket win)

Deepak Chahar celebrates getting Chris Lynn lbw for 0.
Deepak Chahar celebrates getting Chris Lynn lbw for 0. © BCCI

Dhoni took Chahar out of the attack after figures of 3/14 from three overs and called him back to bowl the 19th over. By this stage, Kolkata had been reduced to 87/9 and Andre Russell was batting on 30 off 33 balls with the last man Harry Gurney.

Russell had repeatedly turned down singles to keep strike, and did so off the first two deliveries from Chahar. He mistimed the third for six just wide of long-off and then faced two more dot balls. It was here that Dhoni went to have a word with Chahar.

“We speak a lot, mostly off the field, but the thing with Mahi bhai is that he won’t say a lot, but rather whatever little inputs he gives will be crucial,” said Chahar. “It is about what is required at that specific time. Just before the last ball of my spell, he walked over to me and told me not to allow a single. A six or a four was fine, he said, but not a single because that would get Russell back on strike. We needed their No 11 to be on strike for the final over.”

As it panned out, Chahar bowled a short-of-a-length delivery a foot outside off stump which Russell heaved at and missed, which worked out better than he and Dhoni had discussed. Chahar finished with 3/20 from his four overs, the fifth game this season in which he has bowled his quota and not conceded over 21 runs.