Chennai Super Kings made it to their 10th final in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Tuesday after they outclassed the Gujarat Titans on their home ground at Chepauk.
The Yellow brigade proved to be too good for the defending champions, who had a rare off day with both bat and ball which led to their downfall in Qualifier 1.
Batting first, CSK rode on superb knocks from openers Rituraj Gaikwad (60) and Devon Conway (40) to post 172 for 7 on a tricky surface. Ravindra Jadeja and the rest of the CSK bowlers then turned up with their best show and bowled out GT for 157 to win by 15 runs.
Dhoni praises all-round CSK
Speaking after the match, a satisfied MS Dhoni credited the entire team for the victory and also highlighted the magnitude of the achievement of reaching yet another IPL final.
"I think IPL is too big to say it is just another final. It is no longer eight teams. Ten teams makes it all the more tougher. Hard work of two months. Lot of character showed by our players. Everyone has contributed," Dhoni said at the post-match presentation.
The four-time winning IPL skipper also added that it was a blessing in disguise that they lost the toss and were asked to bat first by GT captain Hardik Pandya.
Ravindra Jadeja's 'bowling changed the game'
Dhoni also reserved special praise for CSK all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who played a key role in the win by taking two crucial wickets and scoring 22 runs down the order.
"GT are good chasers so we wanted to get them in. But it was a good toss to lose. The way it turned for 30 minutes....
"And when Jaddu gets conditions like that, he is hard to hit. His bowling changed the game. Not to forget the partnership between him and Moeen (Ali) too," Dhoni said.
Not the end of the road for GT
Gujarat Titans will get another shot at reaching the final when they face the winner of the Eliminator between Lucknow Super Giants and Mumbai Indians.
The Eliminator will be played at Chepauk on May 24 while the second qualifier will be hosted by the Titans in Ahmedabad on May 26.
The winner of Qualifier 2 will meet CSK in the final at the Narendra Modi Stadium on May 28.
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