Chennai Super Kings booked a berth in the IPL 2023 Finals after completing a 15-run win over the reigning champions, Gujarat Titans on Tuesday at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. CSK’s innings was spearheaded by Ruturaj Gaikwad scoring 60 runs (44b, 7×4, 1×6) en route to a 173-run target for Gujarat.
The Titans couldn’t match up, getting bowled out with 157 runs on the board with Shubman Gill as their biggest contributor, adding 42 runs (38b, 4×4, 1×6). This will be Chennai’s 10th appearance in the IPL Finals and was their first win against the Gujarat Titans since the franchise’s inception in the 2022 season.
MS Dhoni’s sparkling record as a captain in the IPL has further improved by him taking Chennai to their 10th Finals. He currently has four titles to his name and has moved one step closer to winning his fifth. JioCinema IPL expert Suresh Raina hailed Dhoni’s ability to lead teams to this late stage in the IPL consistently.
“Look at how they reached the Finals, 14 season 10 Finals, I think it’s a great achievement. MS Dhoni kept it simple. He deserves credit and Ruturaj (Gaikwad) had told me that CSK wants to win the title for Dhoni. Entire India wants to see Dhoni win the IPL. But what we got to see today is that it’s very challenging to beat Chennai on this ground… Everything he touches turns to gold, and that’s why he’s named Mahendra Singh Dhoni,” said Raina.
The dismissal of Hardik Pandya in the sixth overplayed a massive role in this win for Chennai. IPL expert Parthiv Patel explained the careful instructions that Dhoni passed on to Maheesh Theekshana to ensure Pandya’s wicket would fall.
“MS Dhoni tried to tell Theekshana to bowl within the stump and treated the off-side like a ring because they gave no room to Hardik and he didn’t have the chance to hit the ball from below and find the gap because there were six fielders on that side. There was only one choice, to hit it over the top, but the ball was on the stump, which meant he had to create his own room. That’s why he lost his wicket. Nobody understands moments like that better than MS Dhoni, what his team needs in that particular moment, and which bowler is needed. He understands that well and that is why this team can continuously come back and every player recognizes MSD’s contributions,” Raina added.
The Super Kings are not easy to beat, especially at their home stadium where the Qualifier took place.
IPL expert AB de Villiers explained how teams walk into the Chepauk Stadium intimidated by CSK and Dhoni, “I feel there is an intimidating factor. Whether it’s ground or it’s the MSD factor, opposition teams arrive thinking they have to play extraordinary cricket to beat them. But when you look at the scoreboard, you tend to lose by small margins. It’s 10 or 15 runs, being no-ball free, it’s small things that turn a game upside down. MSD and his troops tend to get it right, when they play at home, when they play in big Finals, you’ll see what they come up with.”