MS Dhoni’s Journey from Debut Match to Last Match

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MS Dhoni has been an IPL institution. He has led the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) almost right through the 14 seasons that they have spent in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Dhoni turns 42 in July, and his millions of fans are wondering whether the MA Chidambaram Stadium in the suburb of Chepauk will see MS Dhoni’s last match in Chennai.

Will Dhoni retire after IPL 2023?

Dhoni, who has won more than 130 matches as CSK captain, has not confirmed whether he will retire after IPL 2023. He last played international cricket in 2019, the World Cup semifinal defeat to New Zealand at Old Trafford, and preparing for a tournament as big as the IPL without regular matches gets harder with each passing year.

So will the 16th edition of the tournament see Dhoni’s final IPL match? Will it be the qualifier or the IPL final itself that is his last match for CSK? And can he leave the biggest cricket stage on a high, with a fifth title that would equal Rohit Sharma’s haul with the Mumbai Indians?

Dhoni’s fourth IPL win (2021)

Ever since he quit international cricket, his legion of fans, especially the hardcore Whistle Podu brigade in Chennai, have been on tenterhooks, wondering when Dhoni will play his final IPL match. Some thought it would be the IPL final of 2021, when CSK clinched the title for a fourth time. Dhoni was already 40 by then, and some assumed he would then walk away.

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But the second half of the IPL in 2021 was played in the United Arab Emirates, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Few were watching from the stands, and the trophy was won thousands of kilometres away from Dhoni’s adoring fans in Chennai. The 2022 IPL is also being played in a select few venues in western India because of COVID-related restrictions.

Back to his whistle-podu fans

By the time IPL 2023 began, it had been five years since Chennai saw Dhoni do his thing. The fans in yellow have flocked to Chepauk for every game. It doesn’t matter that CSK lost three of their seven matches in the league phase. With Dhoni nursing an injury to his left knee, some fans were afraid that every game would be his final IPL match.

Knee injury, no problem for big-hitting Dhoni

But Dhoni has batted through the pain and smashed a remarkable 103 runs from just 54 balls this season. His arrival at the crease causes pandemonium in the stands, and his lap of honour after the final league game of the season in Chennai was one of the most-watched video clips in India for many a year.

Dhoni’s first IPL match

It’s now been more than 15 years since MS Dhoni’s first match in the IPL. CSK had earmarked him as their icon player before the inaugural season in 2008, and the Chennai fans were expectant as Dhoni had led India to World T20 glory in South Africa just months earlier. CSK’s first game of that 2008 season was in Mohali against what was then Kings XI Punjab.

Dhoni batted at No. 4 that day, but lasted just three balls before being trapped leg before wicket by James Hopes. But Michael Hussey’s century took CSK to a record total of 240 at the time. MS Dhoni, the captain, got off to a winning start, and both CSK and he have seldom had to look back.

CSK ban and return to Chennai

When CSK were banned from the league in 2015, Dhoni went to play for the Rising Pune Supergiant. He led them the first year, before giving way to Steve Smith in the second, but there was never any doubt where he would be once CSK returned to the IPL before the 2018 season. Dhoni was so emotional that he shed tears when he returned to CSK, and he promptly led them to their first title in seven years.

Will this tournament see Dhoni’s final IPL match?

So how will the Dhoni story end? Will this week see his final IPL match?

Will Friday or Sunday see his last match for CSK? Will he go out a winner, like he has been for most of his career? Follow RevSportz for this, and other cricket players’ news, as well as the best cricket blogs. Whether it’s Dhoni’s retirement or any other breaking news on cricket, RevSportz will keep you up to date with all the happenings in the cricket world.

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