Chennai Super Kings defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad by six wickets to maintain their unbeaten record in their fortress of the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk. Shane Watson blasted 96 and ensured Chennai Super Kings became the first team to seal their spot in the playoffs. This continued MS Dhoni’s great record as skipper in the Indian Premier League when it came to the Chennai Super Kings. The three-time IPL champions have always qualified for the playoff period under MS Dhoni’s captaincy and in the 2019 edition, they have once again sealed a spot and looking in good touch to finish in the top two where they will get two chances in the playoffs.
Speaking about what was the secret of Chennai Super Kings consistently making it to the playoffs, Dhoni offered a clever answer after the end of the match. “If I tell everyone what it is, then they won't buy me at the auctions. It's a trade secret. The crowd support and franchise's support are key of course. Huge credit has to also go to the support staff who play a huge role in keeping the environment good for the team and other individuals. Other than this, I can't reveal anything till I retire,” Dhoni said.
Watson’s 96 was a welcome return to form for a player who has struggled in the initial league stages of IPL 2019. However, the Australian opener is known for his big knocks on the big stage and it was his century in the final which helped Chennai Super Kings to win the title for the third time. Dhoni praised the efforts of Watson and said the team needed to back him.
“Watson has been a match winner for us. He has been batting well in the nets. Whatever small innings he played so far, he was middling them well although he did struggle a bit. This is the time when you need to back them. The management's thinking was to give him as many games as possible,” Dhoni said.
Even Watson acknowledged that the backing given by Dhoni and the head coach Stephen Fleming played a big part in his knock. “I can't thank Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni enough for their belief in me. Most of the teams I've played in, I would have been dropped by now but they showed the trust in me. Of course, I was doing alright in the PSL and in the BBL too, struck the ball well,” Watson said.
Chennai Super Kings will take on Mumbai Indians on April 26 at the MA Chidambaram stadium and a win could seal their spot in the top two.