Finally, the answer to the question everyone had been so dearly, patiently, anticipatingly waiting for. Is IPL 2023 the last season of MS Dhoni?
The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) was once again at his candid best with commentator Harsha Bhogle. And, after CSK defeated Gujarat Titans in the Qualifier 1 at Chepauk, sealing the place in an IPL final for the 10th time, MS Dhoni was asked by Bhogle about his future plans.
Opening up a bit, MS Dhoni said that while he’s not confirming or declaring anything yet, he will wait till the auction for the next season – which is expected to be in December/January this year – to make a decision.
Has MS Dhoni announced his retirement from IPL?
When Harsha Bhogle asked MS Dhoni “Will you come & play here in Chepauk again?” Dhoni replied: “I don’t know (back next year?) – I have 8-9 months to decide. Why take that headache now. I’ll always be there for CSK, where it’s playing or something outside”
MS Dhoni will turn 42 this July, and he’s already battled the entire season with a knee injury. It seems highly unlikely that MS Dhoni will play next season, though he could be part of the coaching staff.
Here is the report of the Qualifier 1 between CSK and GT:
After being asked to bat first, CSK got another solid start from their openers, Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad, the pair putting up 87 runs in 10.3 overs on a surface that was gripping, holding, getting slower as the match progressed.
Gaikwad scored 60 runs while Conway scored 40. Cameos from Rahane, Rayudu, and Jadeja helped CSK reach a total of 172, which, Hardik Pandya said, was “15 runs” more than what he would have liked to stop Chennai on. Hardik was spot on in his assessment as GT lost the match by exactly 15 runs.
In the chase, GT lost Saha in the third over and then Hardik Pandya in the 6th over. While Shubman Gill held his end, the other GT batters couldn’t support him – Shanaka and Miller were next to go. And when Gill got out, in the 14th over for 42 runs, a victory for the Dhoni-led side seemed inevitable. Some late hits from Rashid kept CSK alive till the penultimate over, but it only delayed the celebrations that followed once GT were bowled out on the last ball of the match.
Speaking about the victory, CSK captain MS Dhoni said: “IPL is too big to say it’s just another final. Used to be 8 top teams, now it’s 10. I won’t say it’s just another final. It’s hard work of 2 months. Everybody has contributed. Yes, middle-order has not got ample opportunity. GT are a fantastic team and they’ve chased very well, so the thought was to get them in. But it was a good toss to lose. If Jaddu gets conditions that help him. he’s very difficult to hit. His bowling changed the game. Not to forget his partnership with Moeen.
“We try to create an environment and work out what is the strength of a fast bowler. We try to give them confidence and tell them ‘please try to explore your bowling’. We try to motivate them as much as possible. Support staff is there, Bravo and Eric are there. You see the wicket and according to that you keep adjusting the field. I can be a very annoying captain, I keep shifting fielders 2-3 feet. Only request I ask from the fielders is, keep an eye on me. If there’s a dropped catch there will be no reaction (from me), just keep an eye on me.”