CSK has brought its momentum back and when Dhoni had finished the crucial match with Delhi Capitals in style, it was emotional for the fans of Dhoni as they celebrated the brief innings that brought him back to the track of being a dangerous batsman and an impressive finisher. CSK took on DC on Sunday in the first qualifier of the IPL 2021. It was a must-win for both the teams to have a direct entry into the finals, and who would hate this golden opportunity.
Chennai has carried more expectations than Delhi as the Men In Yellow contingent had faced a hat-trick defeat in the last leg of the league and the team was also in the need to repay Delhi Capitals for beating it in the league. Dhoni decided to bowl first after winning the toss and Delhi Capitals, who opened up the match, had put 172 runs on board by losing five wickets. When CSK opened the chase, the opening pair fell soon with the dismissal of Faf du Plessis. However, CSK's young gun Ruturaj Gaikwad put a strong foundation for the winning momentum. The campaign was then powered by Uthappa and ended successfully by Dhoni.
While Uthappa got dismissed for 63, Gaikwad fell for 70 by winning hearts and a special place in Dhoni's world. Whenever Dhoni is criticized for something, he replies with the bat. And after a long time, he did that in this match. When MSD came ahead of Jadeja, it was a surprise, and when the team required 2 runs per ball, even his die-hard fans were sceptical about his decision. But when Dhoni takes a decision, he stood by it and proved it worthy, almost every time. With 3 fours and one six, he hammered 18 runs from just 6 balls, chased the target and made it for his team, yet again.
The fans of CSK were in jubilation as they witnessed a typical 'Dhoni finish' after ages. The CSK won the game by 4 wickets with 2 balls to spare. With this win, they are through to the finals, comfortably looking forward to who their opponent will be, in the coming days. Dhoni stood in the crease only for fifteen minutes but it was enough for him to change the weather of the match. After facing setbacks, the CSK had cleared the clouds of scepticism by presenting an impressive show on the field as the crucial victory has taken Chennai to the finals for the 9th time in the 14-year-old IPL games.
Chennai was indeed the only team to enter the finals most number of times and Dhoni's fleet has one more match to lift the trophy. It was Ruturaj's strong batting spirit, Uthappa's wonderful show, and Dhoni's audacity and much-needed innings that had sailed the team towards victory. Dhoni has something special to say about Gaikwad. Speaking at the post-match presentation, Dhoni said, "Whenever we (he and Gaikwad) have a chat, it's always plain and simple. It's about what is going on and what he is thinking because it is very important to understand how well he has improved over the years. And also his game plan, he is somebody who is willing to bat 20 overs."
"I had a conversation with him (Gaikwad) after one of the games. If you are an opener and having a good start, there is nothing that says you have to bat only 10 or 12 overs, why can't you bat 18, 19, or 20 overs. Right after that he batted 20 overs, which means he is very eager to learn and he is somebody who plays authentic shots. He has done very well for himself, he is a good talent", Dhoni added. Ruturaj Gaikwad has proved himself as an asset to the team on the bat and on the field and he has scored 603 runs in this IPL in 15 games and he is the second-highest run-getter after KL Rahul.
As CSK has entered the finals, RCB will be taking on KKR on Monday in the Eliminator round and the winner of this match will play against Delhi Capitals in another playoff on October 13 and the winner of this match will be taking on CSK in the finals, that will be held on October 15. If CSK wins the finals, it will be the fourth time that the team is lifting the trophy. After Dhoni finished off in style, Indian skipper and his successor Virat Kohli took to Twitter and wrote, "Anddddd the king is back. The greatest finisher ever in the game. Made me jump outta my seat once again tonight."