Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has said he is in the “last phase of his career”, reinforcing the widespread belief that the talisman is making his final appearance in the Indian Premier League.
Dhoni’s side gave the home fans at the MA Chidambaram Stadium plenty to rejoice on Friday night by defeating Sunrisers Hyderabad by seven wickets, with New Zealand cricketer Devon Conway scoring his third half-century of this IPL season and Ravindra Jadeja claiming three crucial wickets.
Chasing 135, CSK scored the winning runs with eight balls to spare with Conway scoring an unbeaten 57-ball 77 and sharing an 87-run partnership with Ruturaj Gaikwad (35) for the opening wicket.
Overcome by the huge roar and support of the crowd when he came out of the dugout after his team won the match, Dhoni said, “All said and done, it’s the last phase of my career, however long I play.
“After two years, the fans have had the opportunity to come here and watch, feels good to be here. Crowd has given us a lot of love and affection,” said Dhoni after the match.
CSK returned to their base after a long gap that was brought upon all teams by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dhoni was all praise for young Sri Lankan pace bowler Matheesha Pathirana, who bowled four superb overs and grabbed two wickets, even though he was a tad expensive, conceding 42 runs.
“Not getting enough chances to bat, but no complaints. I was hesitant to bat second because I had that feeling there won’t be a lot of dew. When there are chances of dew, you have to bat second,” Dhoni said.
“Spinners once they came in, bowled a very good length. Fast bowlers once they came back, especially Pathirana, bowled superbly.”
Conway said CSK were trying to perfect a winning template after yet another dominating display.
Conway, who turned the match into a no contest with his unbeaten half ton, added that the below-par score of 134 by SRH made the home team take fewer risks while chasing.
Though CSK completed the task in 18.4 overs, they could have finished the job much earlier but they chose caution over aggression.
“Nice to be there in the end and get the win. Plan for us is simple. Every game, doesn’t change too much. Play good cricket shows in the powerplay and put the bowlers under pressure. We try and look to repeat that regardless of what the score is,” said Conway.
“We probably got the best of the conditions, probably (the ball) didn’t hold as much as it did in the first innings. (The) pitch we experienced in Bangalore (against RCB) was a lot better. We knew we didn’t have to be too reckless here.”
The New Zealander had struck 83 off 45 balls against RCB on a belter of a pitch as CSK made a mammoth 226 for six on April 17 and defeated Faf du Plessis’ side by eight runs.