Best time to announce my retirement, says Dhoni after Chennai win title in last-ball thriller against Gujarat

After Jadeja secured the victory for CSK, cameras captured a rare sight - a tear or two in the eyes of 'Captain Cool'

By Web Desk

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Chennai Super Kings' players celebrate their win at the end of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 final cricket match between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on May 30, 2023. Photo: AFP
Chennai Super Kings' players celebrate their win at the end of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 final cricket match between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on May 30, 2023. Photo: AFP

Published: Tue 30 May 2023, 8:07 AM

Last updated: Sat 19 Aug 2023, 10:12 AM

Every game Indian cricket superstar MS Dhoni played in this season's IPL, his retirement from the game was the topic of discussion. Pundits speculated what the Chennai Super Kings would do, while fans around the country prayed he would not utter the heart-breaking goodbye words.

Dhoni brushed aside all questions regarding his impending retirement but finally addressed the topic during the presentation ceremony after the IPL 2023 final in Ahmedabad. The skipper said he would look to return for the next IPL season after he led Chennai Super Kings to a record-equalling fifth title over Gujarat Titans in what many believed to be his last match.

Ravindra Jadeja hit a six and four off the final two balls as Chennai chased down their revised target of 171 in 15 overs with five wickets to spare in a rain-hit final which went past 1.30 am local time Tuesday on a reserve day in Ahmedabad following a washout on Sunday.

New Zealand's Devon Conway led the chase with his 25-ball 47 before cameos from Ajinkya Rahane (27) and Shivam Dube, who hit an unbeaten 32, set the stage for Jadeja's heroics.

Needing 13 off the final over, Mohit Sharma bowled four good balls before Jadeja hit the winning runs to trigger wild celebrations at the world's biggest cricket stadium.

Photos: AFP
Photos: AFP

At the end of a long presentation ceremony, when commentator Harsha Bhogle asked Dhoni the ultimate question, the entire stadium waited with bated breath.

"Circumstantially if you see, this is the best time to announce my retirement. But 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," said the 41-year-old Dhoni.

"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. The way they've shown their love and affection, I think that's something I need to do for them," he said.

Dhoni also displayed his emotional side after the match. As CSK chased down the target set by their opponents, Dhoni closely watched the proceedings. When Ravindra Jadeja hit the winning runs with a boundary, securing the victory for CSK, the captain's delight was evident as he lifted the star all-rounder onto his shoulders. In that heartfelt moment, the camera captured a rare sight: a tear or two in the eyes of the great man.

"It is the last part of my career. It started over here and the full house was chanting my name. It was my same thing in Chennai, but it will be good to come back and play whatever I can. The kind of cricket I play, they feel they can play that cricket. There is nothing orthodox about it and I like to keep it simple."

Chennai won the title for the fifth time to go level with Mumbai Indians.

Dhoni kept attracting huge crowds across venues this season and over 80,000 fans cheered the veteran, who had recently said he would take a call on his future later this year, in the final.

Playing his 250th IPL match, Dhoni got out for a first-ball duck as he went back to a stunned silence, but he had the last laugh in his 10th appearance in the final as Chennai captain.

Ambati Rayudu also hit a key 19 off eight balls in his last match after he announced his retirement ahead of the final.

Rain forced players off the ground when Chennai were four without loss after three balls of their innings.

The downpour lasted for about 15 minutes but covers came off from one of the pitches which got damp and the groundstaff worked for over two hours to get the field ready for play.

Sai Sudharsan smashed 96 off 47 balls to guide Gujarat, a team which won the crown in their debut season last year in the T20 competition and topped the table in this edition, to 214-4.

"I think we tick a lot of boxes as a team," said captain Hardik Pandya.

"We play with a lot of heart, really proud of the way we kept fighting. We have a motto - we win together, we lose together."

In-form Gujarat opener Shubman Gill hit a 20-ball 39 and was named most valuable player, earning the orange cap as the leading batsman with 890 runs.

Gujarat pace spearhead Mohammed Shami got the purple cap as the leading bowler for his 28 wickets with teammates Sharma and Afghanistan's Rashid Khan one behind on 27 each.

Gill, fresh from his third century this season, was dropped on three when Deepak Chahar spilled an easy catch off fast bowler Tushar Deshpande.

The opener smashed Deshpande for three straight boundaries in the next over and kept up the attack with regular hits to the fence before Dhoni's lightning quick glovework sent back the batsman, stumped off Jadeja.

Fellow opener Wriddhiman Saha made 54 and put on 64 runs with Sudharsan, who took charge after his partner's departure.

Inputs from AFP, ANI


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