12.00: What a night to be a CSK fan. Around a year back, the team finished the league in 9th place. Dhoni was ageing. The team didn’t look strong on paper. Not sure they even had that great an auction to be honest, but here we are... Dhoni has done what Dhoni does best. Made CSK greater than the sum of their parts.That will be all for the blog. Join us in about 18 hours for LSG vs Mumbai

IPL 2023, Qualifier 1: MS Dhoni’s CSK book spot in final for tenth time – ‘Ridiculous success rate’

Player of the match: Ruturaj Gaikwad (Surely had to be Ravindra Jadeja?)

Post-match moments:

Here are some reactions:

CSK in IPL over the years

Season League stage finish Playoff result
IPL 2008 3rd Lost in the final
IPL 2009 2nd Lost in the semi-final
IPL 2010 3rd Champions
IPL 2011 2nd out of 10 Champions
IPL 2012 4th out of 9 Lost in the final
IPL 2013 1st out of 9 Lost in the final
IPL 2014 3rd Won in Eliminator, Lost in Qualifier 2
IPL 2015 1st Runners-up
IPL 2016 Suspended
IPL 2017 Suspended
IPL 2018 2nd Champions
IPL 2019 2nd Lost in the final
IPL 2020 7th ––
IPL 2021 2nd Champions
IPL 2022 9th out of 10
IPL 2023 2nd out of 10 Reached final

CSK win by 15 runs: One of the things Dhoni said (after the 2021 final, if I recall) is that CSK tend to lose more finals than most. But hey, getting there 10 times in 14 attempts is just unreal consistency.

GT 157 after 20 overs: CSK win by 15 runs

WICKET! 19.6: Mohammad Shami 5(5) ct Deepak Chahar b Matheesha Pathirana A superb running catch by Chahar in the end but has he pulled his hamstring again? Oh dear. GT 157

GT 157 after 20 overs: TENTH FINAL FOR CSK! What a franchise.

There is the win (almost). GT need 22 off 3 balls now.

GT 146/9 after 19 overs: The win is nearly here. Pathirana just needs to bowl a steady over. 27 to defend.

WICKET! 18.3: Rashid Khan 30(16) ct Devon Conway b Tushar Deshpande And that should be that. Ian Bishop says on commentary that this is exactly the plan that Dhoni had, to pack the offside field and feed Rashid there. And Rashid hits it to deep point. GT 142/9

GT 138/6 after 18 overs: Rashid Khan on strike. Still hope as long as he’s there. Need 35 from 12 balls.

WICKET! 17.4: Darshan Nalkande 0(1) Run Out Subhranshu Senapati (Sub) Nalkande wanted to put Rashid back on strike but is run out at the cost of it. GT 136/8

WICKET! 17.3: Vijay Shankar 14(10) ct Ruturaj Gaikwad b Matheesha Pathirana WHAT A CAtCH! STUNNER! Gaikwad runs in, dives forward and completes a fantastic catch. GT 136/7

Pathirana holds the key, but he has gone for 2-0-23-0. Wow, GT favourites here? 39 off 18 balls.

GT 134/6 after 17 overs: Well, well, well. HUGE OVER! A six for Vijay, a six for Rashid and then a four for Rashid... thanks to a misfield. GT ARE BACK IN THIS!

58 off 24 needed. Rashid and Vijay Shankar are more than capable of finishing this, you know?

GT 115/6 after 16 overs: And after all that, that’s a big over for GT! A six and four for Rashid Khan. Is he about to play another blinder with the bat?

After all that, Pathirana is going to bowl. Did CSK just use up four-five minutes of match-time to make him eligible to bowl, with the trade-off that they will face a penalty at the end? Let’s see.

There is some mega conference in the middle with Dhoni, Pathirana and the umpires.

GT 102/6 after 15 overs: Theekshana finishes with 4-0-28-2, after Chahar finished with 4-0-29-2. CSK well and truly on top with Rashid and Vijay in the middle.

WICKET! 14.3: Rahul Tewatia 3(5) b Maheesh Theekshana No crazy rescue act from Tewatia here as CSK celebrate. The final is in sight. GT 98/6

GT 95/5 after 14 overs: The wides have been a fair few today from CSK bowlers. But the change of pace away from the body is so hard to put away. The boundaries have dried up. Seems like a good trade-off. Good over from Chahar.

WICKET! 13.1: Shubman Gill 42(38) ct Devon Conway b Deepak Chahar Is that the match?! Is that the sound of CSK getting ready to play on Sunday? Gill goes for a big one against Chahar, the slower bouncer stops on him, And the catch is taken at long leg. GT 88/5

Ravindra Jadeja: 4-0-18-2 to go with his 22 off 16 balls earlier.

WICKET! 12.5: David Miller 4(6) b Ravindra Jadeja There used to be a time when Jadeja was hidden away when big-hitting left-handers were in the middle. But he is bowling here with superb control. That one turns into Miller sharply and bowled! GT 88/4

GT 84/3 after 12 overs: That was a long, long over from Pathirana. On target, he wasn’t easy to put away but he bowled four wide balls in that over.

Pathirana in a little earlier.

GT 74/3 after 11 overs: What an over from Jadeja.

WICKET! 10.3: Dasun Shanaka 17(16) ct Maheesh Theekshana b Ravindra Jadeja Shanaka was looking to take the spinners on in the last couple of overs but two of them combine there to send him back. A reverse sweep is mistimed. GT 72/3

101 needed off 10 overs.

GT 72/2 after 10 overs: All Sri Lankan-contest. Theekshana to Shanaka... and it is the latter who comes out on top in that over. A four and a six for Shanaka. Good over for Titans.

GT 59/2 after 9 overs: Another over where Jadeja was troubling the batters but Gill finishes it with a superb sweep for four. At this moment, this feels a lot like a Gill vs CSK battle.

GT 52/2 after 8 overs: And the CSK spin-rush is on. The overs are going through in a breeze, the runs are not quite flowing. Required rate quickly above 10.

GT 46/2 after 7 overs: And there is huge turn for Jadeja in his first over! Wow, that wouldn’t be out of place on a day-four Test pitch.

GT 41/2 after 6 overs: A powerplay that CSK will be happy with. Didn’t let GT get away despite some good-looking boundaries. Gill’s wicket is key.

WICKET! 5.5: Hardik Pandya 8(7) ct Ravindra Jadeja b Maheesh Theekshana Huge wicket. Pandya tries to go aerial on the offside but is caught. GT 41/2

GT 32/1 after 4 overs: Two terrific shots in that Deshpande over, Pandya with a punch through point and Gill with an elegant drive on the leg side for a four each.

Captain Pandya in at No 3.

WICKET! Over 2.6: Wriddhiman Saha 12(11) ct Matheesha Pathirana b Deepak Chahar: A big over but it ends with a wicket. Gill with a six to start, Saha with a four through the leg side but ultimately Chahar gets the latter. Caught at long leg. GT 22/1

GT 9/0 after 2 overs: Tushar Deshpande with an eventful over. Both Saha and Gill with mishit uppish shots that could have been on another day, but survive. Saha finishes the over with a lofted four.

GT 3/0 after 1 over: That steady good length outside off from Deepak Chahar. Watchful from GT openers.

Impact players: Vijay Shankar in for Mohit Sharma for GT, Matheesha Pathirana in for Shivam Dube for CSK.

All eyes on Shubman Gill: Only last week, Kohli was passing on the baton to Gill saying, “Go on and lead the next generation,” and on the rain-affected evening at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru both Kohli and Gill ended up scoring back-to-back centuries. It was both poetic and ironic.

Centuries so far in IPL 2023

Player Final  SR For Vs Venue Date
Brook  100 181.81 SRH v KKR Eden Gardens 14 Apr 
V Iyer 104 203.92 KKR v MI Wankhede 16 Apr
Jaiswal 124 200.00 RR v MI Wankhede 30 Apr
Suryakumar 103 210.20 MI GT Wankhede 12 May 
Prabhsimran  103 158.46 PBKS DC Delhi 13 May 
Gill 101 174.13 GT SRH Ahmedabad 15 May 
Klaasen 104 203.92 SRH RCB Hyderabad 18 May
Kohli  100 158.73 RCB SRH Hyderabad 18 May 
Green 100 212.76 MI SRH Wankhede 21 May 
Kohli 101* 165.57 RCB GT Bengaluru 21 May 
Gill 104* 200.00 GT RCB Bengaluru 21 May 

CSK 172/7 after 20 overs: Mohit Sharma says the pitch is a little bit sticky. And ‘bilkul dew nahi hai’ will be good news for CSK bowlers. Could be an interesting chase.

CSK 172/7 after 20 overs: Rahane, Rayudu and Jadeja (even Moeen to an extent) played decent cameos. And that is a total that appears to be a fighting one on this surface for CSK. Dew could change things...

CSK 172/7 after 20 overs: A four for Jadeja and a massive six for Moeen in the first three balls of the over. Shami then bowls a full toss no ball but the free hit is just a single. Shami finishes the over with a superb second half, Jadeja is bowled off the last ball.

Shami to bowl the last over. Jadeja and Moeen. There is an over-rate penalty too.

WICKET! 18.5: MS Dhoni 1(2) ct Hardik Pandya b Mohit Sharma: Pin-drop silence. Short and wide, Dhoni finds Hardik at short cover. He walks back and the crowd look on in wonderment... the last time he has batted in Chennai? CSK 155/6

Dhoni takes strike against Mohit. Once teammates.

CSK 148/5 after 18 overs: A big over as Rashid gets taken for a six but Rayudu falls next ball. And out walks Dhoni for a minimal round of applause... (we kid, we kid). Ambati Rayudu 17(9) ct Dasun Shanaka b Rashid Khan

CSK 137/4 after 17 overs: And the search for big hits continues. Superb over from Mohit.

CSK 131/4 after 16 overs: A successful over by Shami. Not only does he end Conway’s misery, he also concedes just six runs off it. The pressure’s on CSK now.

WICKET! Over 15.1: Devon Conway 40(34) ct Rashid Khan b Mohammad Shami And GT find a way to choke things in the middle overs again. Rahane in the previous over and a well-set Conway now. Not the most fluent knock and he is dismissed with a rather half-hearted shot caught at mid-wicket. CSK 125/4

CSK 125/3 after 15 overs: A rather expensive over with 18 runs conceded but Nalkande also gets the important breakthrough for GT. The wickets have begun to tumble for CSK.

WICKET! Over 14.5: Ajinkya Rahane 17(10) ct Shubman Gill b Darshan Nalkande. Nalkande gets his first as Rahane tries to cut across the backward square but Gill pouches it easily. CSK 121/3

CSK 107/2 after 14 overs: No boundaries conceded by Rashid. Rahane and Conway score eight runs off the over.

Timeout. There is a lull in the stadium, mini win for GT.

CSK 99/2 after 13 overs: The balls being dug into the pitch hard are proving tough to put away. Both Rahane and Conway not getting the timing right in that Nalkande over.

CSK 94/2 after 12 overs: The innings has hit a road-bump for CSK, Conway continues to search for timing.

WICKET! Over 11.3: Shivam Dube 1 (3) b Noor Ahmad Huge wicket, that. Dube has been often the difference between par and above par for CSK and he has been castled by Noor here early. CSK 90/2

CSK 89/1 after 11 overs: Terrific over from Mohit, after an expensive start. Just 4 off this one. And the breakthrough.

Shivam Dube in at No 3.

WICKET! Over 10.3: Ruturaj Gaikwad 60 (44) ct David Miller b Mohit Sharma Felt like something had to give. Gaikwad goes for a pick-up shot, but the bat turns in his hand and he finds the fielder at long on. CSK 87/1

CSK 85/0 after 10 overs: A four for Conway as he slashes a wide one from Noor through third. A 9-run over, that. Wonder what CSK think is a good score here.

CSK 76/0 after 9 overs: A day where Gaikwad can seemingly not do anything wrong, it’d seem. Yet again gets an inside edge that flies close to the stump. He has had luck on his side for sure. Had hit a four earlier in the Mohit over too.

Half century for Gaikwad: 50* off 36 balls, 4th of the season.

CSK 64/0 after 8 overs: At some point CSK will have to step on the pedal. This is just about steady for now.

CSK 58/0 after 7 overs: Another four for Gaikwad against Rashid, the CSK batters are keeping GT’s main man on the expensive side so far.

Half-century partnership: The Conway-Gaikwad duo are delivering at the top again.

CSK 49/0 after 6 overs: Noor is welcomed into the attack with a four by Gaikwad, pulling away a short one. Conway with a late cut for four too. A steady powerplay for CSK, we suppose? Not losing wickets against Shami might count as a plus.

CSK 40/0 after 5 overs: A outside edge for a two shows the Rashid threat early but an inside out shot for four shows Gaikwad’s class. Good contest.

Rashid time.

CSK 31/0 after 4 overs: Ashish Nehra was quick to have a word at the boundary line with Nalkande after the previous over and he comes back well enough... but a misfield for 3 and a four at the end makes it 8 runs off it.

CSK 23/0 after 3 overs: Another glorious drive by Gaikwad for four. But otherwise, another tight over by Shami, nearly got Gaikwad chopping one on. Charmed life for Gaikwad so far.

CSK 18/0 after 2 overs: LIFE FOR RUTU! A strange shot from Gaikwad, as he chips a length ball to midwicket. Celebrations! Cut short, it’s a no-ball from Nalkande. Salt meets wound as the free hit goes for a massive six and the next ball is driven through cover for four.

CSK 4/0 after 1 over: No surprise to see Shami deliver an impeccable first over. Good movement away from Gaikwad to start off.

Shami with the ball in hand. Conway and Gaikwad in the middle. The powerplay is likely to be decisive.

Hardik Pandya at the toss (via IPL): We believe dew will come in later, so we want to know what exactly is the target. We were told to take it easy after getting into the top-2, but we refused to. We want to stay focused and play competitive cricket. We are a smart team, we don’t play one-dimensional, we make sure to get the best out of the wicket and have adapted accordingly.

MS Dhoni at the toss (via IPL): We would have loved to bowl first, the reason being Gujarat are an excellent chasing side. We have exploited the conditions slightly better, in a tournament like this, the boys have adapted really well. It’s important to back your strengths, the confidence level should be high. They’ve been able to do that and that’s why we have done well. There was a lot of dew in the last game, but with the breeze around, we can’t say about it tonight, but it does look dry.

Harsha Bhogle with a lovely line in the intro piece: Chennai is monochrome. It’s all yellow.

Robin Uthappa: On CSK’s mantra, Shivam Dube’s resurgence, Shubman Gill’s potential and more

So basically what happens when you join the CSK franchise is that there is a lot of clarity, they do a lot of simple things very, very well. Once a player comes into the team, the first thing that not just MS (Dhoni), but everybody in the support staff does is they have they have a conversation with the player, define the role expressively to the player. And they make them understand what their role is going to be and they keep an open line of communication with them at all times.

Experienced players especially want a line of communication that’s open to the heads of the team. And they want clarity of their roles. The minute that’s given, most good players are happy, and they know how to work from there to give their best because every player wants to go out there and put his best foot forward and put up great performances for their team.

And when this communication is done, and clarity of role is defined to the player, it makes it a lot more simpler. There is a sense of security within a group. You know, I think it’s human nature, that when there is security, your focus is always is on performance. But when there is no security, when you’re deeply insecure within a group, then your focus is always on survival. And when you work from the mode of survival, you cannot focus on performances, you will only focus on surviving within that group. When you work from a place of being very secure, you work on thriving, you work on performing and doing the best that you’re capable of, I think, which is what CSK bring out of players.

I think that’s one of the biggest secrets here and that’s why all the experienced players go there and start performing well.

— via interaction facilitated by JioCinema

Team news: Playing XIs

GT had three TN boys in their squad but none in their first XI, perhaps one of Vijay Shankar / Sai Sudharsan will play anyway as the Impact Player. In a huge surprise (we kid), CSK have named unchanged XI.

CSK: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devon Conway, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Shivam Dube, Moeen Ali, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni, Deepak Chahar, Tushar Deshpande, Maheesh Theekshana

GT: Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, Dasun Shanaka, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Darshan Nalkande, Mohit Sharma, Noor Ahmad, Mohammed Shami

TOSS: MS Dhoni says he wanted to bowl first as well. In recent matches, he has admitted to being confused about what to do first, so maybe it’s a good toss to lose.

Toss news:

Thala calls heads but Hardik Pandya wins the toss, and opts to bowl in Chennai

Orange Cap race: With back-to-back centuries (how good was that innings in Bengaluru?), Shubman Gill now has to be the favourite to top this chart. Faf du Plessis and Virat Kohli’s campaigns are over.

Top-scorers so far

Player Inns Runs SR 100 50
Faf Du Plessis 14 730 153.68 0 8
Shubman Gill 14 680 152.46 2 4
Virat Kohli 14 639 139.82 2 6
Yashasvi Jaiswal 14 625 163.61 1 5
Devon Conway 13 585 138.62 0 6

Head-to-head: CSK have lost all three of their matches so far against GT. Twice last year and at the tournament opener this year in Ahmedabad. This, mind you, is the first time Pandya takes on his mentor’s team at his den in Chennai.

Some non-cricket reading for you, ahead of this match:

A first-person account of running the TCS World 10k as an amateur runner and the report from Ahmedabad on the abysmal state of India’s top-tier women’s football event:

I left the field with a sense of gratitude for being a member of the CSK squad and for what we had accomplished; for being part of a team that brings out the best in me and that values me for what I can contribute to a side as an athlete and as a person.

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the Indian Premier League. The first playoff match of IPL 2023 features Hardik Pandya’s Gujarat Titans and MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings.

The defending champions Titans were the first team to qualify for the playoffs and finished the league stage with 20 points and top of the pile. They have looked like the team to beat for the second straight year.

On the other side, are the comeback kings in CSK. After another poor season in 2022, they have bounced back and into the playoffs. For the 12th time in 14 years in the league. Incredible record.

GT take on CSK in their own den tonight and it promises to be a cracker.

Points table at the end of league stage

GT 14 10 4 0 0.809 20 WWLWW
CSK 14 8 5 1 0.652 17 WLWWN
LSG 14 8 5 1 0.284 17 WWWLN
MI 14 8 6 0 -0.044 16 WLWWL
RR 14 7 7 0 0.148 14 WLWLL
RCB 14 7 7 0 0.135 14 LWWLL
KKR 14 6 8 0 -0.239 12 LWLWW
PBKS 14 6 8 0 -0.304 12 LLWLL
DC 14 5 9 0 -0.808 10 LWLLW
SRH 14 4 10 0 -0.590 8 LLLLW

Screenshots / photos in the blog courtesy: Sportzpics / IPL