The trinity that wrote CSK's script for their fifth IPL title
IPL 2023 final Twitter report: 'Jadeja won it like Dhoni would have'
Jadeja's last-ball four seals fifth title for CSK in rollercoaster final
Dhoni vows to return for another IPL season if his body allows it
Stats - Dhoni equals Rohit, CSK level with Mumbai Indians
Chennai Super Kings won their fifth IPL title, beating Gujarat Titans in the rain-curtailed final in Ahmedabad. Sai Sudharsan's 96 helped Titans post a record 214. In the first over of Super Kings' chase, rain set in, causing a delay of over two hours. Eventually, Super Kings chased down the revised target of 171 off 15 overs off the final ball, courtesy a Ravindra Jadeja four. Here is how the CSK players and coaches reacted to their thrilling triumph:
Ambati Rayudu, who was retiring after the final: "Yes, it's a fairy-tale finish. I couldn't have asked for more. I mean it's unbelievable. Fortunate to have played in really great sides and this is one of the sides. [On the importance of this, his final game] I can smile for the rest of my life. All the hard work for the last 30 years. I'm just happy that it finished on this night. I would like really like to take this movement to really thank my family. My father specially."
Ajinkya Rahane: "It's been one of the stories of the tournament, I really enjoyed it. I think credit goes to CSK management and obviously the captain, Mahi bhai, who backed me and told me before the season what will be my role if I get an opportunity; they said, 'When you get an opportunity we'll back you completely. We just want you to go out there and play your game.' They didn't interfere at all, which I thought as a player is a very good thing. The freedom which CSK gives, it's massive. Really, really happy the way I batted. But this championship win, this victory, this is really special. [On Rayudu] Great character to have in your team. I mean very intense, very hard working. We all know, I mean he did really well for CSK. Really, I mean great team man, I would say. It was not easy for him. To wait till the end. But I thought the knock which he played today was really, really special. So really happy for him."
Ravindra Jadeja: "Feeling amazing, winning this title in front of my home crowd. I am from Gujarat. They [have] all come here, in big numbers, and support CSK. So it's been amazing. This crowd has been amazing. They were waiting for rain to stop till late night. So yeah, I would like to say congratulations to all the CSK fans who turned up and came to see us and support us. As a team, we would like to dedicate this victory to one of the [most] special members of our team - MS Dhoni. So yeah, this is for him. [On his thoughts in the last over] I was just thinking that I need to swing hard, as much as I can because every ball was important. I was looking to swing hard no matter what. Where the ball will go, I was not thinking about that, just was looking to swing hard. [On having belief when ten was needed off two] Yes, yeah, anything can happen. So I was just backing myself, I was look[ing] to hit straight. I knew that Mohit [Sharma] can bowl slow, he can bowl wide yorkers. I was just looking to swing hard and looking to hit straight. I want to say congratulations [to] each and every fan of CSK. Just keep cheering the way you have been cheering. We'll keep fighting and winning the trophy in the future as well."
Moeen Ali: "Unbelievable. I thought the way we came back there... Our voices have gone already. So, yeah, amazing feeling. To beat a such a good side on a wicket like that was amazing."
Devon Conway: "[On his mindset at the start of the chase] Yeah I think just positive intent. Just swing for the hills and hope for the best. But I mean, yeah, special, special night for us here. It's been great batting alongside Rutu [Ruturaj Gaikwad]. As we know, such a clean hitter of the ball. Our partnership's worked really well, you know, that left-right hand combination works really well for us. And we thoroughly enjoyed our time on and off the field, so it makes a good pair up top for us. [On playing under MS Dhoni] You're always learning with MS, just about how to deal with players and situation, scenarios we see every night and we talk and I actually think it's a massive part of IPL, especially Chennai, and that's why we've been so good in the last couple years. So you learn all the time with MS as your captain, who talks to everybody and is very approachable, which is very important. [On his own game improving] I think it's been great. You know, I think this environment that I'm involved in is really good. You know, there's some top players in our group. So it gives me the opportunity to speak to them a lot about batting. And yeah, just happy that it's moving in the right direction and just great to be part of this group."
Ruturaj Gaikwad: "I think this one was more special [than the previous one Gaikwad was part of, in 2021], I would say, because of the how last year went for us and to come back in the style, win games at Chepauk, you know, win away games... And winning it [the final] from two balls ten [needed], I think this was amazing. The way everyone contributed right from the first game, you know, Devon [Conway] continued this way throughout the season, Jinks [Rahane] playing amazingly and you know Rayudu wasn't getting some balls, but you know, terrific knock from him. So this win we would like to dedicate it to him. [On his partnership with Conway] Obviously even today you know we were just talking about having good start for four or five overs and then we can kick on, having wickets in hand in the last ten we would easily chase down 12-13 runs per over. So I think throughout the season it was very fun and I enjoyed batting with him and I'm glad that we even continued in the finals."
Deepak Chahar: [On Rayudu] We sit together and every day we had a discussion. He said, 'I'll win the final, I'll win the final.' Every match we had a discussion [where he said] that I'm going to win it. So that belief that I'm going to do it, was how we were going to play. Yeah, obviously when you're playing at this level you just want to contribute. And when I was not playing I was feeling it, you know, that I can contribute in the powerplay, the way we were lacking in the powerplay. It's just, you know, it was just a simple plan, me and Rayudu bhai were thinking. Whenever we're going to play, we're going to just win the title. If we have to give only one or two performances, we'll give it, but we'll win the title."
Dwayne Bravo: "[On going from player to coach and his role in talking to bowlers like Tushar Deshpande] It's been good. I've been very happy with them. I think it is a great journey. But I got to give credit to our entire bowling unit and also the [bowling] coach Eric [Simons], he also played a very crucial part. It's a great combination between Eric and myself and you know, as we said before in all of our meetings, we are just happy and proud to see the way how this young bowling group go there and showcase their talent. We're just happy with his [Deshpande's] progress so far [in] the tournament. Personally, I really enjoy working with him and all the other guys, they play a crucial role for us. We needed this tournament - at the start, no one gave us a chance but we believe in ourselves as a group, and I'm very happy. You know, I hope my best friend Kieron Pollard is also watching (laughs). He has some catching up to do [in terms of title wins].
Tushar Deshpande: "I said it before the season started in the interview. I want to win IPL championship for my team and I've done this now so I can say I've given my best for the team and [am] looking forward to improving a lot in my bowling and when I have DJ [Bravo] along my side, all the plans are clear. Just we look to execute as a team."
Stephen Fleming: "This feels amazing. It was a big, long two days [for the final]; big campaign really. But just delighted to come back two balls [in the end], you can't ask for much more really. Massive squad. You've got 20-odd players, about 12-15 coaching staff. So it's a real caravan of cricket. At different stages, guys are called upon to do different tasks, but when it comes down to the last couple of balls, you're just sitting and watching really. So, helpless and aging by the second (laughs), and just pleased that you're over the line."
Michael Hussey: "What a phenomenal game. Hats off to Gujarat as well, I thought they have been fantastic all season. But, thankfully, Jaddu [Jadeja] did the business at the end. He got us over the line. [On Dhoni] He's an amazing human being. I think the biggest strength he's got is he's got this great ability to take pressure off players. Particularly young players and, I think, in the first qualifier, there was a good example: He said to Pathi [SP Senapati], he's telling him to relax, calm down [after a fumble] and he [Senapati] got a run-out for us to help us win that game and get through to the final. So, yeah, he's just cool, calm, and collected like we all know. Tactically very smart, and I think he's got a great bond with this man here, Stephen Fleming, and, they complement each other really well. We're very lucky to have them both."