MS Dhoni was not needed to bat on March 23 when Chennai Super Kings defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening match of the 2019 Indian Premier League. And when Dhoni walked out to bat for the first time this season, it was in Delhi.
Therefore, it was but natural for the fans in yellow to welcome MS Dhoni with a loud roar when he walked in to bat at the fall of Kedar Jadhav’s wicket in the fifth over against Rajasthan Royals. Chennai Super Kings were in a spot of bother at 27 for 3 but with Thala (MS Dhoni) joining chinna Thala (Suresh Raina) at the crease, it was a dream come true for CSK’s legion of fans.
MS Dhoni was in spectacular form for Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2018. He scored 455 runs from 16 matches at a strike rate of 150.66 as the team went on to win the IPL for the third time. However, CSK had to play six of their home matches in Pune after the IPL was shifted from Chennai following the Cauvery water protests.
Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) March 31, 2019
In 2019, MS Dhoni roared back to form for India with three successive fifties in the ODI series in Australia. He hit another fifty against Australia in India before being rested for the final two matches.
Chennai Super Kings fans were understandably excited when MS Dhoni walked in with the bat and took guard. The situation was tailor-made for him. CSK had lost Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson and Kedar Jadhav before the power play and Dhoni had to stitch up a partnership with Suresh Raina on a difficult batting pitch.
Early evidence suggested the pitch was better than the one against RCB. Both Dhoni and Virat Kohli were critical of the surface and when these two speak, every quarter in Indian cricket listens.
Ajinkya Rahane, the Rajasthan Royals captain decided to bowl first after winning the toss because he conceded he did not know what the pitch might do. His decision allowed the Chepauk fans to see two of CSK’s most prolific run-scoers to show their magic.