They broke a few hearts and also won a lot of them as Chennai Super Kings went down fighting to mighty Mumbai Indians in an edge-of-the-seat IPL-12 final on Sunday night. Losing to a superior side that clearly dominated Chennai throughout the season was no shame, but a few die-hard Yellow Army supporters were left heartbroken after the match was decided in a last-ball thriller.
Super Kings were so close to complete sweet revenge over Mumbai and yet it proved so far. The bragging rights are with Mumbai having beaten Super Kings four times out of four in 2019.
The supporters are still rallying around M.S. Dhoni’s team. The hashtag — #cskforever — was trending at midnight with many celebrities joining the chorus on social media. CSK’s biggest plus is their unflinching support from fans who stood by the team even during their darkest phase —while serving out a 2-year ban for a team official’s involvement in betting. The fanbase revolves around Dhoni. His mere presence adds value to the team as it was evident during his absence in a couple of matches this season. While answering Sanjay Manjrekar at the post-match interview, the superstar captain said “hopefully” he would return to play next season.
Though it’s an impressive feat to have won on their comeback and making it to the final next season with a squad packed with “oldies”, CSK’s performance in 2019 would definitely worry the team management. At the post-match ceremony, Dhoni kept saying that the team need to go back to the drawing board and address a few issues, with the main focus on their middle-order.
Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming made it clear that the rebuilding an “ageing squad” is inevitable. “We will give some time for dust to settle down. I think if you win one title and reach the final next time, you have had good two years. We do understand that we are an ageing team. So at some point, we just have to look at recreating the side, obviously MS as well,” said Fleming who has been with the franchise since the beginning.
Fleming and Dhoni would sit together once the captain returns from the all-important World Cup. “Dhoni will be travelling to the World Cup. A lot of talent has been established in other teams. You need to do it carefully and get the balance right, when you try to go for players who you think can deliver for us,” he added.
The game-changing moment on Sunday night came in the 13th over when Dhoni was caught short of the crease by Ishan Kishan, with the third umpire pressing the red button after a lot of deliberation. It was a very close call that decided CSK’s fate. “So his dismissal does two things. Our job stops down a bit and it lifts the opposition. So yes it was a big moment,” the coach added.