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Chennai Super Kings' Ajinkya Rahane plays a shot during the Indian Premier League match against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Image Credit: AFP

Mumbai: Soon after being told that he will be playing in Saturday’s clash with Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium, Ajinkya Rahane asked his one-time India skipper and Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni what did they expect from him in the match.

Dhoni told the technically-perfect Mumbai batter that he expected him to bat sensibly as per the situation and hold one end up.

“We spoke right at the start and he was like,” What are you looking for me? “ and I told him what I had in mind. He is not someone who will consistently hit sixes but he is very sound technically. I was very happy with the way he batted,” said Dhoni during the post-match presentation ceremony.

Modest target

Rahane batted in exactly the opposite fashion on Saturday, blasting a 19-ball half-century on his way to a 27-ball 61 as Chennai Super Kings chased down the modest target set by Mumbai Indians, who succumbed to clinical bowling by the CSK to post 157/8 in 20 overs. With Rahane going great guns, Chennai Super Kings reached 159/3 in 18.1 overs for a seven-wicket victory.

Rahane, who got the chance to play as the English duo of Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali were unavailable, said he was just trying to play good cricketing shots and not slog it over.

The 34-year-old batter, who represents Mumbai in domestic cricket and has also played a season for Mumbai Indians in IPL, said he has had a good domestic season and that gave him the confidence to execute his shots.

“Really enjoyed it. I just got to know before the toss that I am playing. Unfortunately, Moeen was unwell. I had a good domestic season and was batting well in the nets. I was just trying to play good cricketing shots, and not slog it over,” Rahane told the official broadcaster after the match.

The 34-year-old Rahane, who has played for several teams in IPL during his long career, said it was all about maintaining shape and preparing mentally well.

Long tournament

“It is all about maintaining your shape. You want to prepare mentally well, IPL is a very long tournament, and it is all about staying positive and knowing your game,” he said.

Rahane, who has led Rajasthan Royals in IPL but was roped in by CSK for his base price of Rs 50 lakh, said skipper Dhoni and chief coach Stephen Fleming have given him the freedom to the players to play their natural game.

“Mahi [MS Dhoni] bhai and Flem [Stephen Fleming] have given the freedom to other players. I was just told to focus on my strengths and focus on preparation. I love playing at the Wankhede, I know the ground well. Have not played a Test here, yet,” he signed off.