Chennai Super Kings’ Ambati Rayudu, who announced his IPL retirement, lauded MS Dhoni after the franchise won their fifth IPL title by beating Gujarat Titans by five wickets (DLS method) at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad on Tuesday. Dhoni once again led with aplomb and got the best out of his players.
In fact, CSK had finished in ninth position in IPL 2022, and not many cricket boffins were betting on them to win the title in IPL 2023. However, Dhoni and Co. were able to turn the tables in style to go all the way in the tournament.
CSK won eight out of their 14 league stage matches to finish in second place in the points table and qualify for the playoffs. Chennai then bested GT by 15 runs in the first qualifier to make it to their 10th IPL final and was able to get over the line in the summit clash after Ravindra Jadeja smashed 10 runs on the last two balls of the final over.
Meanwhile, CSK was able to come up with a collective effort as players like Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devon Conway, Shivam Dube, Ajinkya Rahane, Tushar Deshpande, Ravindra Jadeja, and Matheesha Pathirana all performed consistently for the team. Dhoni had a key role in getting the best out of them and guided them on the right track.
“He thinking beyond himself, he thinking for everybody, he thinks even for India, the whole population, that’s his greatest attribute,” Rayudu said in an interview with NDTV. “At this age doing what he is doing is incredible, I don’t think anybody else could have done what he is doing and not just playing but playing so well, he is just magic.”
The veteran batter, who played a crucial cameo of 8-ball 19 in the final against GT, feels the win against Mumbai Indians was the turning point for CSK.
“Definitely, that win against Mumbai’s in Chennai was one game where we really felt we are in this season, in for the real deal and from there on, maybe the KKR game was a little dampener but it actually fired us up to go to Delhi and win a must-win game and from there on we knew if we do our basics right we are in with a really good chance,” Rayudu added.
Rayudu added they were wary of Gujarat Titans as the Hardik Pandya-led team was coming up with consistent performances and also lauded the runners-up bowling attack.
“But we were always scared of GT, the way they were playing this season, we really didn’t want them to come to the finals but we had to face them especially their bowling it was unbelievable,” Rayudu added.
CSK were once again able to prove their mettle and a lot of credit goes to their main man – MS Dhoni.