Chennai: The stage was set for an emotional return of Chennai Super Kings to their lair at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium after two years, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men made it sweeter with a thrilling five-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL XI on Tuesday night.
“It feels good, to come back after two years and win,” Dhoni said as a sea of yellow-clad supporters cheered on the team after they overhauled a 200-plus target.
Dhoni was his usual self as he guided the team’s chase alongside Sam Billings, who scored a strokeful half-century in response to the big hits of KKR’s West Indian Andre Russell. The West Indian hammered a 36-ball 88 to propel his team beyond the 200-run mark.
CSK hit a total of 14 sixes in the match, but could not match up to the 17 by KKR, of which 11 alone was hit by Russell. “There were a lot of sixes. I think IPL should add two runs every time the ball goes out of the stadium,” Dhoni said in jest at the post-match presentation.
“The crowd deserved the first innings, the second innings,” he said. “Everybody has his own emotion levels, but in the dugout we like to keep faith in our batsmen or bowler in a particular time. Positive energy helps.”
He added: “My pulse rises too, and that’s why we have a dressing room. You can’t express yourself much in the dugout; I express myself in the dressing room. If you’re too expressive in the field, then commentators get a lot of things to talk about.”
The Mumbai Indians have won the IPL thrice, but CSK have been among the most consistent teams. They have won the competition twice in 2010 and 2011, but were losing finalists four times.
Needing 17 runs in the last over, Ravindra Jadeja 11 (not out) hit a six off R. Vinay Kumar with four runs and one ball remaining as Dwayne Bravo (11 not out) watched from the other end.
Chasing 203, Watson and Ambati Rayudu (39 off 26; 3x4, 2x6) gave CSK a dream start before they got out and KKR reined in with a one more wicket.
But Billings and skipper Dhoni (25 off 28; 1x4, 1x6) kept their chances alive with a 54-run stand for the fourth wicket and after Dhoni got out Billings cut loose.
England all-rounder David Willey will, meanwhile, replace injured middle order batsman Kedar Jadhav in the Chennai Super Kings camp. “David Willey has signed up with the Chennai Super Kings for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 as a replacement for the injured Kedar Jadhav,” the BCCI announced in a statement.
Jadhav was ruled out after suffering a hamstring injury after featuring in CSK’s opening game against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai last Saturday.