IPL 2023: Riding on Yellow Wave CSK clinch 5th title; gifts to MSD

“Chennai Chennai Super Kings!”…well this was precisely the reaction of every cricket fan (across party lines) after witnessing an EPIC finish to the INCREDIBLE Premiere League this Tuesday (Yes…the match scheduled on Sunday actually reached the result on Tuesday…HA HA). But, the major story of the tournament was once again that Dhoni’s boys were able to fight against all odds and clinch their record fifth title, bringing them at par with Mumbai Indians in maximum titles for a team. So, how the CSK story unfolded and what were the major notes. Let’s find out in my Blog.

The Injury Woes

CSK’s whole campaign was mired with injuries. Firstly, it was Deepak Chahar, who missed out a couple of games in between because of his back issues. Then, it was the marquee player of the team Ben Stokes. The team had invested heavily in him and some experts even saw a ‘Future Captain’ in him. However, he couldn’t feature in even half the matches and had to rush home pertaining of his injury (Ashes is also knocking on English doors). Even skipper MSD was not wary of injuries and he kept on suffering from knee issues throughout the tournament.

Now, any other team would have succumbed badly in such a situation…but not CSK. It had an answer ready every time something struck the team. A big reason they could sustain the tide of injuries was the huge number of options. Actually, CSK hardly even used Mitchell Santner and Moeen Ali…two extremely quality players. Many a time, they even played with only three overseas players. Well…this just shows the level of team management and squad selection from the franchise.

Ben Stokes; a major CSK buy had to rush home after injuries (Photo: Inside Sport)

Young ‘Gem’ Findings

Well…as famous commentator Aakash Chopra says “Baki sab khiladiyon ko talaashte hain…Dhoni khliadiyon ka taraashte hain!” (Others find players…Dhoni grooms players). This absolutely sums up what happens every year in the CSK camp. Ruturaj Gaikwad, Deepak Chahar are major CSK finds. If you look at this year, CSK’s bowling was perhaps the most INEXPERIENCED in the whole tournament. Chahar was injured in some games, Mukesh Chaudhary a player they prepared last year too remain injured throughout. Yet, Dhoni was able to bring up 16 wickets from a rookie like Tushar Deshpande.

Much of Dhoni’s trusts were bestowed upon a name from Sri Lanka hardly anyone heard of…Matheesha Pathirana. Nicknamed ‘Baby Malinga’, this 20-year-old pacer was literally scouted out by MS Dhoni after he saw his action in a viral video! He has groomed Pathirana from a rookie to a player who is able to deliver for the team in crunch situations. From nailing yorkers to showing composure, Pathirana is doing all. Well…as experts are already of the opinion, Sri Lanka has got a new star…found and groomed by Captain Cool.

IPL 2023: MS Dhoni feels Matheesha Pathirana should never play Test cricket | Sporting News India

Matheesha Pathirana, a rising star found and groomed by MS Dhoni (Photo: Sporting News)

Man Management of Old Guards

Ambati Rayudu, Robin Uthappa, Ashish Nehra, Harbhajan Singh…and now Ajinkya Rahane too has joined the club. On all these players, other teams had literally lost all hope after they were not able to deliver. But CSK trusted and entrusted them. The result was some unbelievable and match-winning stuff on the cricketing field from the old guards. This is a clear example of ‘Man Management’. Putting faith on a player and then giving him teh freedom to express himself on the field.

Ajinkya Rahane…he was a delight to watch this year. What timing, shots and elegance he was showcasing this year. After his best years in white ball had got over, and he failed to create an impact for Delhi and Kolkata franchises, it was CSK who in a ‘surprise’ move bid for him. And, the result is in front of all of us. Some serious comeback at the cricketing stage by ‘Jinx’. This run also helped him posing a return to the Indian Test squad. I am very happy for him and also hopeful that he delivers on the national stage too.

IPL 2023: Ajinkya Rahane smashes his fastest half-century in tournament's history : The Tribune India

Ajinka Rahane was at his vintage and delightful best in the tournament (Photo: Tribune India)

The Final Climax

CSK displayed a very consistent run throughout the IPL. Despite some hiccups in between, it managed to win 8 games out of 14 and finished at the second spot with 17 points (one match was abandoned due to rain). Coming onto playoffs, CSK straightaway entered the Finals by defeating the Defending Champions Gujarat Titans — a team they had never beat past this. This victory was truly special due to an emphatic display of captaincy from Captain Cool, besides bowling and batting. Now, the final game was supposed to start on Sunday night. However, due to heavy rain, it could only start on Monday. And, with rain continuing to play spoilsport, by the time the second innings started, it was already past Monday (midnight).

GT had posted a mammoth 214 in the first innings, which is just TOO much for an IPL Final. Notably, it was a young player from Chennai — Sai Sudharsan — who was the star batter for GT with a brilliant 96. CSK got the revised target of 171 in 15 overs (again very tough). But, from the very start, CSK seemed right on track. Devon Conway and Rutuaj took CSK off a flying start. Post that, responsibility was taken by small but effective cameos of Ajinka Rahane, Shivam Dube and Ambati Rayudu (who was also playing his last game).

When MS Dhoni came out to bat…maybe for the last time, CSK needed 22 off 14. However, after all the solid finishing this season, this night was not meant for that. Dhoni tried to flash Mohit Sharma through the covers but he was caught on the very first ball. The situation went a little tense as the next two overs were excellently bowled by both Shami and Mohit Sharma. CSK needed 10 off 2 — which is usually not scored especially in Finals. I had literally lost all hopes for CSK there, as GT very well looked poised to retain their title.

But ‘Sir’ Jadeja as they say. The next ball which was just short of a yorker, Jadeja smashed over the sight screen. The last ball was again an attempted yorker, which drifted a little down leg; keeping all the nerves Jadeja flicked it very well for a four. An impossible-seeming task was just accomplished by the prolific All Rounder from Gujarat who snatched the win right from the hands of GT. The scenes which followed will go into cricketing memories. Jadeja running with his bat and Dhoni lifting him after this emphatic finish was so special. Finally, when the Trophy was being handed over, MSD just being MSD called Jadeja (match winner) and Rayudu (who played his last game) to hold the trophy before handing it to other teammates. While the team celebrated, Dhoni stood behind relishing the gift his boys just gave him.

IPL 2023: WATCH – MS Dhoni's reaction goes viral after CSK win last-ball thriller vs GT to lift IPL title for 5th time

MS Dhoni lifted Ravindra Jadeja after the Epic Finish in the finals (Photo Circle of Cricket)

A Gift to MSD by his Boys

“The amount of love and affection I have been shown wherever I have been this year, the easy thing would be for me to say “Thank you very much”, but the tough thing for me is to work hard for another 9 months and come back and play at least 1 more season of IPL. A lot depends on the body, I have 6-7 months to decide. It will be more like a gift from my side, it’s not easy for me but that’s a gift,” MS Dhoni said after the IPL Finals.

Even after the game, almost everyone was glued to their screens for MSD’s speech. And, fortunately, it was a very hopeful one as Captain Cool has said that he will “try” to play “at least” one more season. After all, people flocked to stadiums throughout the country just for one man. Although, it truly won’t be easy considering he will be 42…but all MSD and Cricket fans will be hopeful. And just in case, this was his last game, as one commentator pointed MSD has also ended his career with a ‘duck’ just like Sir Don Bradman.

MS Dhoni and CSK: A Bond Intertwined

MS Dhoni…the Legend…the Captain Cool (Photo: News 18)

CSK: The MSD-led IPL Phenomenon

A famous saying in soccer goes “Football is a simple game – 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win”. Well…this saying very well applies to CSK in terms of IPL. This victory was not just a simple one, especially because it came after the fiasco last year when CSK had finished ninth (second last). That was the auction year, the team had lost some of its big names and acquired some new ones who needed some more grooming before delivering the needful. And, look they have been able to win the title back and come at par with their arch rivals MI.

The team made a return to the league in 2018 after remaining barred for two years due to “Owners’ involvement in spot-fixing and betting”. Dhoni built a team of literally Old Guards and won it. A similar thing (as in 2023) happened in 2021 too, when they came after a poor run in 2020 after the senior players had lost much of the steam. But, within one season, MSD was able to build a new team with some promising youngsters and win the trophy. The same thing he repeated this time. 5 trophies in 14 years is not a joke. Finding and grooming talents, man management, bestowing trust, building a team with both quality and quantity…most importantly leading like MS Dhoni. The whole CSK saga actually holds a lot of lessons for everyone across different fields.

“Tell them we are back!”: MS Dhoni (in 2018)

Don’t miss my posts!

We don’t spam!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *