Video: Chennai crowd erupts as MS Dhoni walks out to bat
The entire city of Chennai woke up in glee and was looking forward to the first ODI between India and Australia. It was two years since India last played an ODI here and it has been two years since Chennai's prodigal son took the crease at the Chepauk.
MS Dhoni has always had a special connection with Chennai, so much so that when Chennai Super Kings announced their return to the IPL, Dhoni took to Instagram and posed with a yellow jersey.
As India's top order crumbled against the pace of the Australian bowlers, there was a bit of anxiety on the faces of the Indian fans and the dressing room as well.
However, shortly after Rohit Sharma departed, there was an unusual roar in the crowd. Usually, after a wicket falls, the entire crowd falls silent. But not this time. It was time for "Thala" to walk out to the crease.
As he stepped out of the dressing room and onto the field, he received a rapturous ovation from the crowd. Right up to the point he took his mark at the crease, roars and whistles were heard from the crowd.
There was a daunting task for the former captain at his favourite cricket stadium. With the Men in Blue struggling at 64-4, it was up to Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav to take India to a respectable total.
After Jadhav's dismissal, things were looking really bad. It looked like India might not even reach 150. However, Pandya had other ideas in mind as he took matters into his own hands during the middle overs.
He started off a bit slowly with just a couple of boundaries in his first 20 runs or so. From there on, he began to attack the Australian bowlers. He decimated Adam Zampa by smashing 24 runs off a single over which consisted of three consecutive sixes. Yet, in the end, it was Zampa who had the last laugh when he dismissed Pandya for 84.
Dhoni, who played second fiddle during the 118 run partnership with Pandya was at his vintage best during the end of the innings. He ended up scoring 79 off 88 balls with four fours and two huge sixes to his name.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar too played extremely well as he scored 31 in just 29 balls.
At the end, India ended up with a highly respectable total of 281 with the loss of seven wickets.