Three centuries in the four matches he played coming into Monday's IPL final and Shubman Gill was the match to watch for Chennai Super Kings. All the experts talked about, in their previews of the match, was what plans MS Dhoni would have for the young opener.
And plans he did have. Only for Deepak Chahar to drop the in-form batter twice before the fifth over. The first opportunity Chahar got was in the second over when he was at square leg and Gill's shot came right into his lap. He caught the ball, only to release it and spill the catch. Shubman was on 3. Chahar's next opportunity was in the fifth over, off his own bowling, but this one was slightly tougher as the ball touched his left hand while he was on his followthrough. Gill now was on 17.
MS Dhoni though clearly decided to take things in his own hands as two overs later, keeping very close to the stumps, he nicked the bails in one rapidly smooth motion, off Jadeja's bowling to finally send the opener back to the dressing room.
The tournament's highest-scorer was sent back to the dressing room on a 20-ball 39. At the other end Wriddhiman Saha however was going strong, having scored 28 off 22 balls, with the team at 67/1 after 7 overs.
MS Dhoni Elected to Bowl in the IPL Final
Eaerly, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) won the toss and opted to bowl first in the rescheduled final of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
The M.S. Dhoni-led CSK, who were the first team to reach the final, didn't make any change in their playing XI for this all-important game.
"We'll bowl first with the rain forecast being around. Yesterday we were in the dressing room. As a cricketer, you always want to play. It was the crowd that suffered the most. Hopefully, we can entertain them," said Dhoni at the toss.
"Pitch has been under covers for a long time, but throughout the tournament, the pitch has behaved well over here. Quite happy it will be a 20-over game we'll be playing. Serves justice to the tournament like this. Same team," he added.
On the other hand, defending champions Gujarat Titans also stuck to the same playing XI for the summit clash.
"Would've bowled first as well, but my heart wanted to bat so I don't mind losing the toss. We spoke that it is something out of our control (weather). Whichever team plays better will have their hands on the trophy," said Titans skipper Hardik Pandya.