Chennai Super Kings beat Delhi Capitals by six wickets in Visakhapatnam on Friday to book its eighth IPL final berth in 10 seasons.
CSK will meet their arch-rivals Mumbai Indians (MI) in the high-octane clash in Hyderabad on Sunday, May 12.
After serving a two-year suspension, in 2015 and 2016, CSK returned to the IPL-fold in 2018 and immediately struck form. The MS Dhoni-led side beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai to clinch its third IPL trophy.
En route to the IPL playoffs this season, it won nine out of 14 games. The only team that dominated CSK is MI.
The Rohit Sharma-led side beat CSK thrice; twice in the league stages and in Qualifier 1.
The 37-year-old Dhoni is one of 11 members of the 25 man Chennai squad aged over 30.
Australia’s Shane Watson is 37 and his fellow opener Faf du Plessis, a relative team youngster at 34. Both plundered fifties off the Delhi bowling as Chennai powered past the 147-run target with an over to spare and just four wickets lost.
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Dhoni, winner of three IPL titles and still a key member of India’s World Cup squad, is not bothered by questions about his age.
“I don’t mind that because all this increases the anticipation,” Dhoni said during an interview in Vizag.
The real reason why CSK reached the final this season
Dhoni has credited the bowling unit for CSK’s stand out performance in the IPL 2019.
“The crucial part was to keep getting wickets. The credit needs to go to the bowlers. The captain only asks this is what I need. Then it’s up to them to figure out how to bowl, and they have to put in the hard yards,” Dhoni said after the game against Delhi Capitals.
“Thanks to the bowling department for where we are this season. I would have preferred it if the openers finished it off. Once they got the required rate below 6 an over, there was no reason to play big shots and get out. They did the hard yards,” he added.
Dhoni also lauded the entire CSK team for producing a clinical performance when it mattered.
“It’s the usual route, last year was the exception. The kind of response from the boys today was brilliant. The way we batted to get 140-plus runs was very nice,” the CSK skipper further added. “The spinners got some turn, and we kept getting wickets at the right time.”