Mumbai : Mahendra Singh Dhoni was soaking in everything with his usual calm demeanour before attributing Chennai Super Kings’ seventh IPL final appearance to “dressing room atmosphere”, a far cry from the awe that was best summed up by a popular teammate’s groovy tribute.
Coming back after a two-year ban, two-time champions CSK on Tuesday night pulled off a thrilling two-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad to make the final of the cash-rich league, with Faf du Plessis leading the chase.
“We have been a very good team over the past ten seasons, but it’s more about the dressing room atmosphere,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
The two-time World Cup winning captain added, “And you can’t do that without the players and the support staff. And if atmosphere is not good, then players go to different directions. But somehow, we have managed to keep our boys on track.”
All-rounder Dwayne Bravo celebrated the victory with a dance in the dressing room. A video of the same was posted on Twitter by Chennai Super Kings, in which Bravo and Harbhajan Singh are seen dancing in front of skipper Dhoni.
“Always happy when we win. Being in the top two gives you that liberty to have one more game.” Du Plessis’ 67 off 42 balls enabled CSK to chase down a tricky target of 140 in 19.1 overs after being down at 92 for seven.
“Faf’s innings, is where experience counts. It’s not easy when you don’t play a lot of games but I always say you need to train your mind as well. That’s where the experience comes in. You visualise what your role is, how you can contribute and Faf has been brilliant,” Dhoni said.
Chasing a modest target of 140, CSK were down in dumps at 92 for 7 before Du Plessis (67 off 42 balls) engineered a stunning comeback and fittingly finished the match with a straight six off Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
“If we would’ve lost, you still give yourself a second chance. They bowled very well, and there was a bit for the fast bowlers. Bhuvi bowled well, backed up well by Rashid. We kept losing wickets, and so we had to push ourselves. Losing three-four wickets in the middle always puts you on pressure. Plus, they have a mystery bowler.
It’s good to win a game like this, but what’s more important, is knowing how we can improve.” With 43 needing off last three overs, Du Plessis, who opened the batting, launched into Carlos Brathwaite’s 18th over smashing him for 20 runs which included two sixes and two fours. Having done precious little in the tournament so far, the stylish right-hander put his hand up when it mattered most.
“Our bowling combination is the best we have, and from the beginning I’ve been using different players at different stages to test them. You have to keep shuffling to know who can do what for you, and at what time. It may hurt you sometimes, and the best bowlers are playing these games.