IPL returns to its Home and Away formats
For the first time since 2019, the home and away format will return in the IPL. In 2020, the IPL was played in the UAE, while the following year in 2021, the first half was conducted in certain venues across India, while the second half returned to the UAE. Last year, the IPL 2022 was played across just 4 venues in Maharashtra, which is why the atmosphere around this year promises to be palpable with fans expected to turn up in numbers and force a sold-out. ...read more
IPL Latest News
- May 18, 2023 12:51 AM IST
- May 17, 2023 01:38 AM IST
- May 15, 2023 02:12 AM IST
- May 13, 2023 11:19 PM IST
- May 12, 2023 12:22 AM IST
There were moments in the IPL 2023 final, tiny windows in time that sent contrasting signals about Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s future. All season the debate about the Chennai Super Kings skipper has raged — will this be his last season or will he simply play on… seeking a goal only he knows.
The first of these moments arrived a little after CSK had made a sloppy start to the final. They had given Shubman Gill, the man who had taken his batting to new heights this season and the holder of the Orange Cap, a life in the early going. And the GT opener had started to find his range, reaching 39 off 19 balls.
But with the last ball off the seventh over, Ravindra Jadeja bowled a flatter and fuller delivery that turned enough to beat the right-hander’s bat. It sneaked past the edge and into the gloves of the CSK skipper, who whipped off the bails without a moment’s delay.
It was a close affair. Jadeja wasn’t quite sure. Neither was Gill. But Dhoni knew; he knew because he had collected the ball, just after it had passed the stumps and disturbed the bails in the same action. As television replays later showed, his reaction time was just 0.1 seconds. It was a stumping that Dhoni has perfected over the years, and one that perhaps only he has mastered.
Also Read| MS Dhoni’s leadership, Jadeja’s nerve, tried and tested players: What makes CSK so formidable
And this was coming from a player who hasn’t done any wicket-keeping practice all season. As CSK coach Stephen Fleming later revealed: "MS Dhoni hasn't done any wicket-keeping practice during this IPL, it's all natural, today was just awesome, especially the stumping was MS Dhoni at his best, it's not trained, it's natural and skill.”
At the same time, it seemed to signal that Dhoni still had a lot left in his tank. He wasn’t done.
GT, however, were in no mood to make things easy for the man who has defined his club and perhaps the league as well. They continued to pile on the quick runs and reached 214/4 at the end of their 20 overs.
That would be a big total in any match, let alone a final. The pressure adds a few to the total but that exactly is what CSK have thrived on all these years. Dhoni seems to have an innate ability to shrug off pressure; a few deep breaths and he finds an inner balance. His calm has, somehow, always transferred to his teams as well.
When the rain came down just after three balls in the CSK innings, GT coach Ashish Nehra and skipper Hardik Pandya were all over the place. CSK, though, only sent out coach Fleming. The rest of the players in the yellow jerseys sat in their dugout. Waiting. Hoping. Breathing.
Then, the rain stopped and the target was decided — 171 in 15 overs. CSK had all their wickets in hand but in such a situation, panic could easily set in. It didn’t.
Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway gave CSK a blazing start — they reached 74 in 6.2 overs before the former was dismissed. Shivam Dube walked in next and struggled to find his timing right initially. The power shots were going nowhere.
But the runs kept coming. Ajinkya Rahane (27 off 13) played a mini classic, including a wonderful check drive that went for six straight down the ground . Ambati Rayudu, in his last IPL match, weighed in with 19 off 8 balls.
It all seemed to be setting things up for their skipper. Dhoni in a chase, another legend in the making, another six to finish the match? There were so many thoughts as he walked out to bat. Would he? Could he?
CSK needed 22 off 14 balls as he made his way to the middle. The only thing that accompanied him to the middle was an incredible amount of noise. The crowd going absolutely nuts. Of course, he had heard it all before but still…
But even before the noise could die down, Dhoni was walking back. He was caught at extra cover. Mohit Sharma, former CSK player, had got him. A golden duck in his final match? It was a moment that seemed to say so much and leave as much hanging in the air. This, surely, wasn’t in the script.
It seemed to be going downhill for CSK after that until the equation finally became 10 runs needed off 2 balls. Jadeja pulled a special one out of the hat to seal the most special of title wins for CSK.
As Jadeja hit the four off the last ball to win the match, CSK players seemed to explode off the bench and race towards the middle. The camera, just for a few seconds, panned onto Dhoni who was still sitting in the dugout, calmness personified. He’s always been ‘Captain Cool’ but was this another sign? Is this it?
A little later, he joined the celebrations, lifting Jadeja in a bear hug but was the calm just Dhoni being Dhoni, or was something else coming our way?
At the end of the rollercoaster ride, many thought Dhoni might throw one more twist into the mix. But the CSK skipper, who became the oldest player (at 41 years and 327 days) to win the IPL title, simply took a deep breath and opened up in the post-match chat:
“If you circumstantially see, it's the best time to announce the retirement,” said Dhoni. “The easy thing for me to say is thank you and retire. But the hard thing to do is to work hard for nine months and try to play one more IPL season. The body has to hold up.”
Dhoni added: “But the amount of love I have received from CSK fans, it would be a gift for them to play one more season. The way they've shown their love and emotion, it's something I need to do for them. It's the last part of my career. It started over here and the full house was chanting my name. It was my same thing in Chennai, but it will be good to come back and play whatever I can.”
So, for the moment, Dhoni’s still standing. We don’t know for how long. But perhaps it’s best to not ponder over that for too long and just enjoy the moment as it is meant to be.
IPL Top Players
[ IPL 2023 FAQ ]
10 teams are participating in IPL 2023 namely Gujarat Titans, Rajasthan Royals, Lucknow Super Giants, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Capitals, Punjab Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians
The home and away format is back for IPL 2023. After the league stage is over, the top four teams will qualify for the Playoffs. The top two will play the Qualifier 1, the winner of which will secure a place in the final. The 3rd and 4th placed teams will play the Eliminator. The loser of the eliminator will be out of the tournament and the loser of Qualifier 1 and winner of Eliminator will battle in Qualifier 2. The winner of Qualifier 2 will reach the final and play against winner of Qualifier 1
The IPL 2023 is being played in India across 12 venues – Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Mohali, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Delhi, Guwahati and Dharamsala
The IPL matches start from 7:30PM every evening and on double-headers, the day match begins at 3:30 PM
The IPL can be live streamed on Jio Cinema app free of cost
The 10 captains of IPL are as following – MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Rohit Sharma, David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan, Faf du Plessis, KL Rahul, Aiden Markram, Sanju Samson, Nitish Rana
Mumbai Indians are the most successful IPL franchise having won the title 5 times in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020. Chennai Super Kings are four time winners – 2010, 2011, 2019, 2021
A total of 77 matches will be played in IPL 2023, out of which 74 are league games and the remaining three are playoff matches – Qualifier 1, Qualifier 2 and Eliminator
Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians have a crazy fan following, but Royal Challengers Bangalore are the leading social media players among all 10 franchises
Gujarat Titans, making their debut, won the IPL 2022 by defeating Rajasthan Royals in the final
Every team will play at least 14 league matches
Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings are the two best teams of IPL, having won a total of 9 titles combined
There is no fixed limit on player retention
Defending champions Gujarat Titans are one of the favourites of IPL 2023, although Chennai Super Kings under MS Dhoni cannot be counted out either