MS Dhoni scored the winning run and Chennai Super Kings beat Delhi Capitals by 4 wickets.© IPL
In the end it was about experience and knowing what it takes to win a big match. Mahendra Singh Dhoni did what many thought he couldn’t do anymore, which was to come in and take some to the boundary and take his team home. Chennai Super Kings enter the final of IPL 2021, their 9th in league history, as they out of Delhi capitals By 4 wickets. Dhoni hit 3 fours and a six in his unbeaten 6-ball 18 as his team chased down the target of 173 with 3 balls to spare as he reminded Avesh Khan and Tom Curran that they were at length. Can’t bowl less than the balls. Even when he is 40 years old. Dhoni’s late heroism was the icing on the cake after his former Indian teammate Robin Uthappa and the ever-improving Ruturaj Gaikwad set the stage for a grand finale.
Uthappa and Gaekwad came together in the very first over of the high-pressure chase when Enrique Nortje dismissed in-form Faf du Plessis for 1. Gaikwad was of all class, while Uthappa reminded Indian cricket fans that he still had talent and power in his batting. While Ruturaj has been brilliant this season, Uthappa didn’t get much opportunities to bat long in the middle for his new franchise. But he returned the confidence shown in him by the team management by knocking on time.
Uthappa made a huge impact on young Avesh Khan in the powerplays and completed his half-century in just 35 balls to keep CSK at par with the asking rate. With 62 to win in 7 overs, CSK looked like they were home and dry but Uthappa’s dismissal for 63 led to a short collapse as pinch-hitters Shardul Thakur and Ambati Rayudu were dismissed in quick succession. Went.
Ruturaj, however, continued his pursuit and completed his half-century in the company of Moeen Ali, who delivered some sharp blows to keep the required rate under control. Ruturaj was dismissed for 70 by Avesh Khan on the first ball of the 19th over as CSK now needed 24 runs off 11 balls. Many thought that in-form Ravindra Jadeja might be out but skipper MS Dhoni decided to take the responsibility despite his poor form with the bat this season.
While Moeen Ali got a boundary and a run, it was a six off the last ball of Dhoni’s over that turned the match CSK’s path as they needed 13 runs to win in the last over. Tom Curran was given the ball in place of the experienced Kagiso Rabada for the last over and the Englishman dismissed Ali and kept Delhi on the hunt. But then there was the old Dhoni as he hit back-to-back boundaries to bring down the equation requiring 5 runs off 3 balls.
A panicked Curran then bowled a wide and Dhoni completed the task by hitting the next ball again at the boundary.
Earlier, Delhi Capitals scored 172 runs in their 20 overs on the back of a solid start to the innings by opener Prithvi Shaw. 60 off 34 balls to take the team flight despite the cheap dismissals of Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer. Captain Rishabh Pant (51 off 35) and Shimron Hetmyer (37 off 24) produced big hits in the death overs and took the team to a strong total, but ultimately it was not enough.
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