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Top Performer: Vintage Dhoni

By HARISH KOTIAN
March 27, 2022 09:38 IST
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IMAGE: At 40 years and 262 days, Mahendra Singh Dhoni became the oldest player in IPL history to score a half-century. Photograph: BCCI

It was Mahendra Singh Dhoni at his vintage best as he cracked a fine half-century to rescue Chennai Super Kings after a horror start in the opening match of IPL 2022 against Kolkata Knight Riders in Mumbai on Saturday, March 26, 2022.

Dhoni, who shocked everyone by giving up the CSK captaincy a couple of days before the start of IPL 2022, cracked a magnificent 50 not out from 38 balls to rally CSK to 131/5.

The legend was greeted by thunderous shouts of 'Dhoni! Dhoni!' that echoed all around the Wankhede stadium when he walked in to bat at No 7 with CSK reeling on 61/5 in the 11th over.

CSK's new skipper Ravindra Jadeja, who usually likes to attack the bowlers, was content to play second fiddle as he and Dhoni staged a brilliant rescue act.

Jadeja played a sedate knock of 26 from 28 balls, posting an unbroken stand of 70 runs from 55 balls with Dhoni.

CSK went without a boundary for eight overs in the middle overs. but Dhoni was unmoved. He timed his assault to perfection in the end overs.

Dhoni broke the shackles when he punched Umesh Yadav through the off-side for a four in the 16th over. He then took on medium pacer Andre Russell, hitting the West Indian for three boundaries in the 18th over.

Young pacer Shivam Mavi suffered at the hands of the CSK legends who hit him for a four and six in the penultimate over.

Russell came under attack again in the final over, with Dhoni hitting him for a couple of fours, while Jadeja ended the innings in grand style with a six off the final ball.

CSK scored 47 runs in the final three over. However, KKR's batters were clinical in the run chase as they carried their team to an convincing six wicket win, with nine balls to spare.

 
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HARISH KOTIAN / Rediff.com

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