The MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai or Chepauk saw emotional scenes on Sunday night as the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) played their final home league game of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 season. Even though the four-time champions lost by six wickets to Kolkata Knight Riders match no. 61, skipper MS Dhoni took the entire CSK squad for a lap around the Chepauk stadium after the game to thank the crowd for their tremendous support through the season.
One wondered if it is the final time that the legendary skipper MS Dhoni was playing in front of the Chepauk crowd as it is still not certain if he’ll be back to lead the team for the 2024 season. Even former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar took the opportunity to savour the momentous occasion asking Dhoni for a special autograph.
Dhoni was seen giving an autograph to Gavaskar on his shirt in a video which went viral on the social media. While Qualifier 1 and Eliminator are scheduled to take place at the venue, CSK are yet to confirm a Playoffs berth after their loss to KKR on Sunday night.
A special lap of honour filled with memorable moments ft. @msdhoni & Co. and the ever-so-energetic Chepauk crowd _#TATAIPL | #CSKvKKR | @ChennaiIPL pic.twitter.com/yHntEpuHNg
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 14, 2023
Gavaskar later revealed that he had borrowed a pen when he got to know about CSK’s plans for a lap of honour after the match. The legendary India opener showered praise on Dhoni for his contribution to Indian cricket.
“Who doesn’t love him? What he has done for Indian cricket over the years has been amazing. What is most important is the role model that he has been. So many youngsters look up to him. Thank you very much, I borrowed a pen. As soon as I heard they were going on a lap, I kept it with me,” he said on Star Sports network.
Meanwhile, Dhoni only managed an unbeaten 2 runs in his final home league match at the Chepauk as CSK were restricted to 144 for 6 after batting first. However, Dhoni blamed the dew for affecting the efficiency of the CSK bowlers and believed the side needed to score more than 180 runs in the conditions to have a chance in the match.
“The minute we bowled the first ball in the second innings, we knew we needed 180. But there was no way we could have got 180 on that pitch. The dew made a big difference in the second innings. We can’t really blame any of our bowlers. Just that the conditions had a big impact on the game,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation.