MS Dhoni keeps his words, leads CSK to fourth IPL title

MS Dhoni, the CSK skipper, has promised to come back stronger after facing humiliation in IPL 2020 and the man kept his words when he guided his team to the fourth IPL title in 2021.

Ageing maestro Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings defeated two-time champion Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs in the final on Friday.

Chennai, playing its ninth IPL final, made an imposing 192-3 after being put in to bat by Kolkata skipper Eoin Morgan.

Kolkata, which had chased down 199 in the 2012 final against Chennai, crumbled to 125-8 before tailenders Shivam Mavi (20) and Lockie Ferguson (17 not out) dragged them to 165-9.

Openers Shubman Gill (51) and Venkatesh Iyer (50) put on a solid 91-run stand, then Kolkata lost its way completely, losing eight wickets for just 34 runs in a dramatic collapse.

Fast bowler Shardul Thakur, who has replaced Axar Patel in India’s Twenty20 World Cup squad, picked up 3-38 while Josh Hazlewood (2-29) and Ravindra Jadeja (2-37) ran through Kolkata’s middle order.

All four top-order Chennai batsmen were amongst the runs, led by Faf du Plessis’ 86 off 59 balls. But the South African had a lucky escape on 2 when Dinesh Karthik missed a regulation stumping.

Ferguson (0-56) had an off day and conceded the second-most runs by a bowler in an IPL final.

The three cameos by Moeen Ali (37 not out), tournament top-scorer Ruturaj Gaikwad (32) and Robin Uthappa (31) helped Chennai to set a formidable total.