It was a happy evening for the fans in Chepauk as they saw MS Dhoni once again marshall the troops in yellow expertly to their 10th final in 14 attempts in the Indian Premier League on Tuesday.

Ravindra Jadeja starred with bat and ball as Chennai Super Kings beat holders Gujarat Titans by 15 runs.

The left-handed Jadeja returned figures of 2-18 with his spin bowling following his 22 runs, which boosted the Chennai total after Ruturaj Gaikwad’s 60 on an awkward pitch for batting.

Four-time winners CSK posted 172-7, a total their bowlers defended as they defeated the defending champions by 15 runs. Chase-masters on any other day, Gujarat Titans succumbed for 157 in 20 overs while chasing the target on a slow track.

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

Dhoni put up yet another captaincy masterclass, utilising his resources like only he can. Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Mateesha Pathirana and Maheesh Theekshana all picked up two wickets apiece. The former India captain brought in the squeeze through his spinners in the middle overs, moved the field around expertly, and had enough cushion in the end to close out the match.

Earlier, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway had stitched an 87-run opening partnership and that proved to be the period that allowed the most fluent period of stroke-making. During the chase, Rashid Khan gave a scare, scoring 30 off 16, before he was dismissed by Tushar Deshpande in the nineteenth over.

Gujarat will have another shot at making the final, which is on May 28 in Ahmedabad, when they take on the winner of the second play-off between Lucknow Super Giants and five-time champions Mumbai Indians.

Here’s a look at the reactions:

Fireworks lit up the sky as Chennai made their 10th Indian Premier League final.

“IPL is too big to say it’s just another final,” the captain said on presenter Harsha Bhogle’s question on the Sunday final being “just another final” for Dhoni’s team.

“Used to be top eight teams to compete with the best players available in the world, but now it’s 10 teams, so now it’s tougher. It’s hard work of two months because of which we are standing over here. Lot of character showed by the individuals.”

Dhoni also stalled suggestions that he was about to retire, saying he will take “eight, nine months” to decide on his IPL future.

“The small auction will be around December, so why to take the headache right now. I have ample time to decide,” he said.

The spotlight remained on Dhoni, who is India’s most decorated player, leading his country to two World Cup triumphs including the inaugural T20 crown in 2007 and has played mentor to younger heroes including Virat Kohli.

Dhoni has attracted huge crowds across venues with fans turning up in Chennai’s yellow as a tribute to the cricketing great.

His home venue was nearly packed to capacity as fans cheered every move of their hero, who raised the noise when he came into bat.

But the crowd soon fell silent as the superstar, who has been troubled with a knee injury in this season but has not explicitly said he is retiring, fell to Mohit Sharma for one off two balls.

Earlier Gaikwad registered his fourth half-century of the season as he capitalised on a reprieve on two when he was dismissed in the second over only for the delivery to called no-ball.

He hit back with a six and four and soon converted Chennai’s modest start to a strong opening stand of 87 with New Zealand’s Devon Conway, who made 40.

Chennai wobbled after Gaikwad’s departure but Jadeja’s 16-ball cameo, which included two sixes, and one hit over the fence by England’s Moeen Ali in the final over fired Chennai to what turned out to be a winning total.

Gaikwad was named player of the match for his 44-ball knock and a good diving catch in the deep.

Shubman Gill attempted to drive Gujarat’s chase with his 42 but the rest of the batting faltered.

“We were quite spot on but we made some basic errors. I felt were were exactly 15 runs short,” said Gujarat skipper Pandya.

Fast bowler Deepak Chahar, who took down Gill, and the Sri Lankan duo of Maheesh Theekshana and Matheesha Pathirana also took two wickets each.

Rashid Khan attempted to pull a rabbit out of the hat with his 16-ball 30 but fell in the 19th over and Pathirana sealed the deal on the final ball.

With AFP inputs