A bespectacled Mitchell Santner smashed Ben Stokes into the stands off the final delivery to guide Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to a thrilling four-wicket victory in Thursday’s IPL XII game that saw a very public outburst from winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
CSK recorded their sixth win in seven games — also Dhoni’s 100th IPL victory as captain — as they made rough weather of a modest 152-run target before Santner’s six sealed the game in a dramatic final over in which CSK needed 18 runs.
Dhoni, on his part, scored 58 off 43 and added 95 with Ambati Rayudu (57 off 47 balls) for the fifth wicket. However, in the final over, Stokes got him with a yorker and a clear waist-high no ball to Santner was ruled out even after umpire Ulhas Gandhe raised his arm.
This prompted an angry Dhoni to enter the ground and literally blast Gandhe, before square leg umpire Bruce Oxenford calmed him and sent him back. Quite a few Royals players too got involved in the heated argument.
All these were prior to Santner finishing it off in style, spoiling what was a brilliant outing from Jofra Archer (1/19 in four overs).
“They (Royals) were able to build up pressure right till the end. Once you win games like these, you are able to take a lot. Winning these games really helps. But it’s also important to work on the negatives while enjoying the win. Otherwise, it can come back to hurt us later in the tournament,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation.
At the start of CSK’s reply, Dhawal Kulkarni bowled a perfect away going delivery that squared up Shane Watson, while Suresh Raina was beaten by a direct throw. Faf du Plessis soon followed suit as Rahul Tripathi took a well judged catch at the deep mid-wicket boundary off Jaydev Unadkat’s bowling to reduce CSK to 15 for three.
Kedar Jadhav didn’t last long, as it took an air-borne Stokes to pull off an incredible catch at backward point off Archer’s bowling. At 24 for four, Dhoni walked in and with two young spinners in the form of Shreyas Gopal and Riyan Parag bowling in tandem, he launched into the duo hitting them for a six each as Rayudu kept on rotating the strike, hitting the odd boundaries in between.
“Not to forget, one of my biggest innings came here, so I have special attachment with this place… Good thing is, we have won the game, so it gives us the liberty to test a few bowlers in our next game (against Kolkata Knight Riders),” Dhoni said.