Former captain MS Dhoni held his nerves, turned back the clock, and pulled off a vintage finish for defending champions Chennai Super Kings against their arch-rivals Mumbai Indians in a thrilling IPL 2022 match at the DY Patil Stadium.
The 40-year-old Dhoni may have left the captaincy for India and as well as for CSK but he certainly hasn’t forgotten to do what he does best i.e “finishing the game” for his team.
Whether it was dragging the game to its last breath, knowing the areas to target, keeping calm, or finishing off the game in his style with a last-ball boundary, all the Dhoni touches were pretty much visible in his innings during the run chase on Thursday.
Chasing a modest target of 156 for victory, CSK was in deep trouble at 16-2 after losing the wickets of Ruturaj Gaikwad (0) and Mitchell Santner (11) early in the innings. But, Robin Uthappa (30) and Ambati Rayudu (40) stitched a partnership of 50 runs for the third wicket and kept CSK in the game. However, once they got out, Chennai was back in trouble as the next two batters — Shivam Dube (13) and Ravindra Jadeja (3) didn’t do much.
It was Dwaine Pretorius (22 off 14) and Dhoni (28 not out off 13) who hit important runs and kept CSK in the chase till the last over. CSK needed 17 runs in the last over and Pretorius was trapped leg-before by Jaydev Unadkat off the first ball. DJ Bravo came to bat next and took a single in the second ball of the over, with 16 still to get.
Unadkat erred in length while trying to go full and wide and ended up offering a ball in the slot that Dhoni hit for a straight six in the third ball. The left-arm pacer took the pace off on the next and went short but Dhoni saw that coming, camped back, and pulled it to the square-leg fence, taking the chase down to 6 off 2 balls.
The veteran batter took 2 runs in the fifth ball, bringing the equation to 4 of 1, which Dhoni polished off with a whip of the wrists on a low full toss that beat the short fine leg fielder to the fence and sealed a memorable three-wicket victory for CSK.
Speaking after the game, Chennai Super Kings skipper Ravindra Jadeja said his team was confident of its chances in the close encounter with Mumbai Indians because the “great finisher of the game was there” to seal the victory for them.
“Actually we were very tense, the way the game was going, but at some stage, we knew that the great finisher of the game was there and if he played to the last ball, he can definitely finish the match. He showed the world that he’s still here and he can finish the game,” Jadeja said during the post-match ceremony.
It was Chennai’s second win of the IPL 2022 season and they are at the ninth spot in the table with four points while Mumbai suffered their seven consecutive loss in the tournament and is yet to win a game.