Another IPL season is drawing to a close, and once again, the Chennai Super Kings are in the summit clash. It has almost become like the norm: CSK reaching the final has now become as normal as the sun rising.
And one can only think about the impact that their leader, responding to the name of Mahendra Singh Dhoni has had, on the franchise.
No player in the history of the IPL has mattered so much to one particular franchise as much as Dhoni has mattered to CSK. And, the people of Chennai have come and poured their unconditional love for their Mahi. He has undoubtedly become the Sporting 'Thala' of the city.
And, on the 12th of May 2019, the Chennai Super Kings will lock horns against familiar foes, Mumbai Indians in the summit clash, in what will be another blockbuster battle, between two of the most successful sides in the history of the IPL.
And, without a shadow of a doubt, the man who holds the key for the Chennai outfit, is their captain himself: MS Dhoni. The legendary cricketer has scored 414 runs this season, at an amazing strike rate of 138.13, at an almost surreal average of 103.50.
The way Dhoni has shepherded the side, his ability to make those tactical bowling changes, his lightning quick hands behind the stumps, his ability to back himself, take the chase deep, and his rejuvenated finishing abilities make him the man to watch out for in the final.
And, Rohit Sharma will have to be extremely wary of the danger that Dhoni poses, especially when the stakes are high. And, Dhoni, the batsman has been ethereal this season. His brutal assault on Jaydev Unadkat in Chepauk, when he scored a breathtaking 75*, or his brutal assault on Umesh Yadav, when he scored 24 runs off the final over, and almost took CSK home, stand testimony to the fact that if Mumbai don’t get Dhoni early, they are in for deep trouble.
Yes, Mumbai Indians have death bowling specialists like Lasith Malinga and Jasprit Bumrah, who can send in those yorkers, but even they will have their tasks cut out because Dhoni can get his powerful wrists into play and send the ball soaring into the boundary.
At the age of 37, Dhoni still works like a magician, his next move is still unpredictable, and the aura, with every passing season has only increased. And for the final, it is undoubtedly going to be ‘the Dhoni Factor’ that is going to decide which team lifts the trophy in the 12th edition of the IPL.Published 12 May 2019, 18:37 IST