- Dhoni and Watson have been in fine form for CSK in the ongoing season
- CSK outclassed DD on Monday with their batting might
- The Chennai-based franchise is on top of the points table with 6 wins in 8 matches
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has said MS Dhoni's motivation to give the best for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) season has rubbed off on everyone else in the team, including himself.
Watson insisted that representing CSK, especially after the team's two-year hiatus means a lot to the Men in Yellow, who according to him, are in a comfortable space with an "excellent" coach in Stephen Fleming and "calm" skipper Dhoni.
The 36-year-old's comments came after CSK rode on their batting might to win a high-scoring encounter against Delhi Daredevils by 13 runs at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune on Monday, April 30.
While Watson (78 off 40) and Faf du Plessis (33 off 33) gave the home team a solid start after being sent in to bat, Dhoni and Rayudu, during their 79-run stand, took the Daredevils bowler to the cleaners.
With Monday's win, CSK also returned to the top spot of the eight-team table with 12 points from eight games. They are now tied on points with Sunrisers Hyderabad, who also have won six from their eight matches.
"It all comes from the leadership. Stephen Fleming has been an excellent coach, complemented by MS Dhoni. He is obviously very strategically and tactically very good. He takes pressure off the whole group and the players," Watson told IPL's official website after Monday's win.
He added: "They were also able to pick up high-quality talented people with a serious desire to do well for CSK.
"We have all seen how much it meant to the guys to be here with CSK for they got banned for two years, how much it meant to them to make a comeback and play in the IPL. That's enough motivation.
"To be able to see how much it means to him to play for CSK. That's rubbed off on everyone. It means so much to him as it does to everyone."
How age-defying Dhoni has motivated Watson
Meanwhile, Watson said he has been spurred on by Dhoni's hunger and age-defying batting performances in the ongoing season.
Watson, who had struggled (71 runs in 8 matches) during IPL 2017 with the Royal Challengers Bangalore, has been on top of his game this year. He has already amassed 281 runs from eight games and is striking the ball at 166.27.
On the other hand, Dhoni has silenced his critics by showing glimpses of his vintage self at the death in the ongoing season. He has promoted himself higher up the batting order, more often than not, and it seems the 38-year-old is enjoying his the additional responsibility.
The skipper is among the top-scorers in the team with 286 runs, which includes three half-centuries.
"He is an incredible player but this is as good as I have ever seen him hit on all type of wickets and against all type of bowlers," Watson said.
"He is just so cool under pressure. When the run rate gets up, he just knows which bowler he is lining up. It's amazing to see him so calm," he added.
"You can see MS doing these things in his age, which is in and around my age and that spurs me on. There is certainly no reason why your best cricket can't come at this stage of your career.
"To be able to see what MS has done from close quarters has been very special."