Chennai win fifth IPL crown as Dhoni eyes return next year

After leading Chennai Super Kings to a record-equaling fifth title victory over Gujarat Titans in what many thought to be his final match, Indian cricket legend M.S. Dhoni declared he will want to return for the next IPL season.

In a rain-delayed final in Ahmedabad on a reserve day after a washout on Sunday, Chennai chased down their revised total of 171 in 15 overs with five wickets to spare. Ravindra Jadeja smashed a six and a four off the final two balls.

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Devon Conway of New Zealand took the lead in the chase with a 25-ball 47 but cameos from Ajinkya Rahane (27) and Shivam Dube, who scored an unbeaten 32, laid the groundwork for Jadeja’s exploits.

With 13 needed off the last over, Mohit Sharma bowled four solid deliveries before Jadeja scored the winning runs, setting off loud celebrations in the largest cricket stadium in the world.

“This is the best time to announce my retirement. But the amount of love I have received all over. The easy thing would be to walk away from here, but the harder thing would be working hard for nine months and try to play another IPL,” said the 41-year-old Dhoni.

“It would be a gift from me, won’t be easy on the body. You do get emotional, the first game at CSK everyone was chanting my name. My eyes were full of water, I needed to take some time off in the dugout.”

Chennai has now tied Mumbai Indians for the most championship wins with five.

Almost 80,000 people cheered the veteran, who had recently stated that he will make a decision about his future later this year, during the final. Dhoni continued to draw sizable crowds to venues throughout this season.

Dhoni, who was taking part in his 250th IPL game, was dismissed for a first-ball duck as he returned to startled silence, but in his 10th appearance in the championship match as the captain of Chennai, he emerged victorious.

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