MS Dhoni: If any team deserved to win IPL this year, I feel it was KKR

Sourav Ganguly and Jay Shah with CSK skipper MS Dhoni
BCCI officials Sourav Ganguly and Jay Shah with CSK skipper MS Dhoni

Chennai Super Kings defeated Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs to win the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League and clinch their fourth IPL title.

Batting first, Chennai posted a huge total of 192/3 courtesy of a brilliant innings 86 runs off 59 balls from Faf du Plessis well supported by Ruturaj Gaikwad, Robin Uthappa, and Moeen Ali at different stages of the innings.

Chasing a huge total, the in-form opening pair of Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer scored half-centuries before returning to the pavilion and a sudden collapse from the rest of KKR’s star-studded batting order saw MS Dhoni and co. lift their fourth trophy in the cash-rich league.

Also read: England and KKR skipper Eoin Morgan heaps praise on Venkatesh Iyer, says he seems to be batting on a different wicket 

At the post-match presentation, CSK skipper Dhoni started by praising the efforts of the Kolkata team that rose from the seventh position to give a strong fight in the final of the IPL season.

He said,

“Before I start talking about CSK, it’s important I talk about KKR. For the position they were in after the first phase, it is very difficult to come back and do what they have done. If any team deserved to win the IPL this year, I feel it was KKR. I think the break helped them.” 

The veteran wicket-keeper batsman talked about his players constantly providing match-winning performances which helped them maintain the winning momentum throughout the season.

He continued,

“We shuffled a few players, we used them in different ways. It was important was to take responsibility. I felt we had match-winners game after game. People who were in form ensured they were scoring throughout the tournament and others were chipping in. I hope CSK in the coming years will be known for that.”

The former Indian skipper also talked about what makes his team’s approach unique and how they CSK has played the most number of IPL finals over the years.

He concluded,

“We are the most consistent team looking at the stats but we have also lost finals. Not letting the opposition in is something we consciously wanted to improve. We don’t really talk a lot. It’s more one-on-one. Our practice sessions are more like a meeting session also. People are more open that way. The moment you talk in a team room there is a bit of pressure. You can’t deliver without a good team. We also have great individuals as well.”

Harshal Patel of Royal Challengers Bangalore won the Purple Cap and the Most Valuable Player of the Season award. On the other hand, young opener Ruturaj Gaikwad bagged the Orange Cap and the Emerging Player of the Season award after a great IPL season that saw him earn his debut for the Indian national team as well.

Moeen Ali and Faf du Plessis heaped praise on Gaikwad whilst the youngster expressed delight at winning the Orange Cap as well.

Ali said,

“I can’t describe how I’m feeling. To do it with this franchise is great. He’s got no weakness (on Gaikwad who was standing next to him). He’s so calm. Has got every shot. Hopefully in the future will play for India. So calm and so clear in what the team wants to do. No changes. I could’ve been dropped a couple of games ago. It’s such a grounded and humble team.”

Faf du Plessis said,

“That was a great day. 100th IPL game, special day. I loved my time here at CSK, almost 10 years. No 4 in the IPL trophy cabinet is really good. Rutu (Ruturaj Gaikwad) is a special talent. Indian cricket is generally very blessed with young talents. Rutu has got a great head on his shoulders. He has got a great future.”

Gaikwad said,

“It is a top of the moon feeling to win the orange cap and win the IPL. It is very very satisfying to win the IPL. It feels great. We didn’t have a great season. Coming here, everyone believed and we are here. When you are performing well, you are confident in your lesser risk shots. You need to make sure you are there till the end.”

The England and KKR skipper Eoin Morgan also praised his team while reserving special praise for the dynamic opening pair of Iyer and Gill.

He said,

“Extremely proud of the fight the boys have put in. Today unfortunately wasn’t ours. Venkatesh (Iyer) is new to this platform but has a huge future. He and (Shubman) Gill have been the cornerstone of our batting. The energy Tripathi showed was absolutely outstanding.”