An adoring Chennai Super Kings fan brigade cheered MS Dhoni on from all corners of the world, his family waved from the stands, as Captain Cool did it one more time. Maybe, for the last time!
When CSK returned from a two-year exile in 2017, Dhoni decided that he would build a Dad’s Army because he believed there’s no alternative for experience on the IPL stage.
The ‘daddies’ justified the captain’s theory time and again over the next four years and Dubai on Friday, became their platform to sign off with a bang. Probably playing together for the last time together before a new auction next season, the super seniors of CSK played a match straight out of the dreams to beat Kolkata Knight Riders and give the skipper his fourth IPL title.
The 37-year-old South Africa reject Faf du Plessis, a 35-year-old semi-retired Robin Uthappa and a 34-year-old RCB reject Moeen Ali showed what it means to have experience as CSK ran away with a score of 192-3 against a decent KKR attack. Even when KKR were batting, with Venkatesh Iyer and Subhman Gill having given them a rollicking start, it was 38-year-old Dwayne Bravo who with his two overs gave away only eight runs and stemmed the flow. Then it was over to the likes of midlevel seniors Ravindra Jadeja and Shardul Thakur who have done it time and time again to use the slowness of the wicket and run away with the 27-run victory.
Before that, it was the game-sense of Faf that set CSK on course after KKR captain Eoin Morgan won the toss and put them in. It was expected that the spin troika of Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy and Shakib Al Hasan would make a difference before the dew set in.
But Faf, aided by a missed stumping by Dinesh Karthik off Shakib when on two, had other ideas. He looked to initially play with a sense of caution as Orange Cap winner Ruturaj Gaikwad (32 off 27 balls) took the early initiative to unsettle Shakib. The beauty of the Faf ’s 86 off 59 balls was that there was absolutely no sense of rush. He decided to take on the pacers Shivam Mavi and Lockie Ferguson while the heavy lifting against spinners was left to Uthappa and Moeen.