MS Dhoni, after his side’s five-wicket loss against the Rajasthan Royals at the Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai on Friday, said that pacer Matheesha Pathirana, dubbed as Baby Malinga because of his slinger action, will contribute to Chennai Super Kings’ campaign in IPL 2023. 

“I think what we need to understand is that we were playing a batter light. So when we lost those wickets, Moeen had to curb himself a bit. Role and responsibility got swapped a bit when the wickets fell. If we had lost another wicket at that point, we wouldn’t have even got anything to defend. I’d say 10-15 runs short although the start is always crucial. If you don’t start well, even 180 may not be enough,” he said after the match.

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“Overall, I’d say 15 runs short. I think the important factor is that he (Mukesh) is keen to learn quickly and after every game, he wants to improve. That’s what is needed for youngsters. Next season, it shouldn’t be like they are starting from scratch. Our Malinga (Pathirana) is difficult to pick, and he’ll only surely contribute for us next year. We have done well in patches. Important thing is to do well as a team. Crucial thing is to make the most of an opportunity if you are a bowler or a batter. It’s not a one-year tournament, you keep coming back year after year. Key is to keep going as a player for the next 10-12 years.”

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With Friday’s win, Rajasthan Royals booked a spot in the Indian Premier League playoffs qualifier, over taking Lucknow Super Giants on run rate to finish second in league play. Rajasthan will meet the league-leading Gujarat Titans on Tuesday for a straight shot at the final.