Chennai Super Kings' successful run chase against the Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League 2021 was set up brilliantly by half-centuries from top-order batters Ruturaj Gaikwad (70) and Robin Uthappa (63). Yet when it mattered the most, it was MS Dhoni's vintage finish that helped CSK cross the line.
Coming in to bat in a difficult situation, Dhoni played a match-winning cameo of 18 runs from just 6 deliveries at a strike rate of 300 to help his team reach their ninth IPL final. After the win, batters Gaikwad and Uthappa reflected on MS Dhoni's performance and spoke about the match as a whole.
MSD is a man for the big stages: Gaikwad
"He's a man of big stages for sure and he would absorb any pressure given to him and he did a good job and hopefully we are just one game away," Gaikwad said in an interaction with Uthappa after the match.
"You can never write off someone like MS Dhoni at that situation in the biggest stage. He is the best there was, and I think the best there is. He is the man you want in that kind of situation," Uthappa stated during the same interaction.
If not for that niggle, we would have finished it off: Uthappa
While it was Dhoni's innings that helped them seal the match, the match-defining partnership was the one between Gaikwad and Uthappa. The two added 110 runs from 77 deliveries and while Robbie was the aggressor initially, Gaikwad took it upon himself later.
Later, Uthappa who was part of India's 2007 T20 World Cup triumph under MS Dhoni, said that had it not been for a slight niggle, perhaps he could have even finished the run chase for his team.
"The focus was completely on the game. I've been sitting out for like 10-11 games, so always wanted to contribute to the team. When the opportunity came along, I knew that I had to be true to myself. When I came out to bat, my only thought process was to stitch a good partnership. I think if not for that little niggle, I think we would have finished it off," he said.
One of the three other teams alive in the competition- Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore- will join Chennai in the finals on October 15 at the Dubai International Stadium.