Centurion: Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni heaped praise on opener Matthew Hayden for his contribution at the top of order while the retired Australian returned the compliment by terming the Indian as an inspiring leader and a dangerous batsman.
Hayden, the second Indian Premier League's orange cap wearer with 378 runs, has been in consistent form with three fifties this season, and Dhoni said the Australian's aggressive batting has been a huge asset for the team.
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"He (Hayden) is brilliant. He knows his cricket and is enjoying his aggressive batting. He has given us the kind of start we need and I am happy that I have been able capitalise on those starts," said Dhoni of Hayden who was adjudged man of the match for scoring 89 Thursday.
Hayden, on the other hand, showed high regards for Dhoni as an inspiring leader and one of the hardest hitters of the game who can play unorthodox shots with ease.''
"It was good that it (my performance) helped my team win. But I must say that I was very well supported by MS Dhoni. MS is a fantastic captain and player," he told reporters.
"MS gets some great power from unorthodox shots. He is a danger in this form, danger in any format really. When he is going he just strikes the ball as hard as anyone on the planet. And these small boundaries ... he is just unstoppable."
Hayden also rated Suresh Raina highly saying his young team-mate was a bundle of talent who can roll his arms as a useful part-time bowler besides his batting exploits.
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"I think Suresh has got immense ability and talent. And those two factors alone coupled with some power which he seems to be developing make him top of the tree in terms of international one-day cricket and also just his potential in Twenty20 cricket which he is starting to fulfill.''
"He (Raina) is a very fine player. He is also a very aggressive fielder and particularly, strong on the ball. I think he can certainly lead our side by example," he said.
Raina was used by Dhoni towards the close of Kings XI Punjab run chase and he responded magnificently restricting Yuvraj Singh and Mahela Jayawardene from scoring freely, and Hayden was all-praise for Raina.
"Yes, it was a gamble definitely. But it paid off. Suresh answered the call. As I said, he is a particularly good competitor, Suresh, and to be in that part under pressure, is a huge part of his development in the future."
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Hayden said for a batsman to succeed in Twenty20 cricket, he has to employ a certain degree of pre-meditation.
"Pre-meditation is a huge part of the game, even in the way you walk at spinners and whatever," he said.
"Factors like wind, for example, make a difference, size of the grounds make a difference."