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Jadeja and Dhoni show age is just a number

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Rock star: Chennai Super Kings’ Ravindra Jadeja hit ten runs off the last two balls to win the Indian Premier League final against Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad (Photograph by Ajit Solanki/AP)

We have just witnessed one of the finest Indian Premier League competitions in its history, with Chennai Super Kings racking up a record-equalling fifth title in the final against Gujarat Titans, the 2022 champions. In keeping with a tournament that has had so many last-ball finishes, this final stretched out over three days because of weather interruptions had absolutely everything before Ravindra Jadeja, living up to “The Rock Star” moniker given to him by the late Shane Warne, won it with a six and a four off the last two balls.

This IPL showed why it attracts all the big players around the world, and why everyone wants to go and play in it. The play-off phase was probably one of the most exciting anyone has seen in a little while. Coming down to the final ball, it just shows that big players show up at big times ... guys like Jadeja. It’s always exciting to see, exciting to watch him. These players show up game in, game out.

Ravindra Jadeja celebrates with his wife and daughter after hitting the winning runs for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League final against Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad on Monday (Photograph by Ajit Solanki/AP)

Chennai have now joined Mumbai Indians as the most successful franchise in the 16 years of the IPL, and they have done so with players at the heart of their effort who some might describe as “old”. People always talk about age, and talk about young players and all that, but the senior players — they don’t like to be called old players — show every time why they keep getting picked and why they’re some of the most sought-after players in the world. Captain MS Dhoni is 42 and may continue for another year while Jadeja is 34. With so many players changing teams at draft time, those two have been Chennai stalwarts and are essential in making them one of the best franchises around the world.

Dhoni is one of those players that you will always fear, no matter what number he bats, especially if his teams are chasing — the ultimate finisher. If you know that Dhoni is still to come, there’s a chance. He may not have done as much batting this year as in previous years, but just his calming influence on the field is a big plus. He’s so calm. You watch him and very rarely do you see many emotions from him. Which made his reaction to Jadeja hitting the winning runs seem all the more special.

For every success story, there is always a loser. But you cannot overlook the performances of Shubman Gill for the Titans; he was undoubtedly the batsman of the tournament with 890 runs — 160 more than the next batter — at an average of almost 60 with three centuries.

Shubman Gill, of Gujarat Titans, was the most outstanding batter in the 2023 Indian Premier League (Photograph by Ajit Solanki/AP)

I played against Shubie when I went to India with England Under-19 in 2017. From that moment, the first time I saw him play, you just know. The way he hits the ball, the areas that he hits, the amount of runs that he scored, it was just evident that he was going to be a big superstar. He was already being talked about to play IPL, and at that age, I think he was about 17. It’s no surprise to me to see him at the top of the charts in terms of runs. It’s no surprise to see him opening the batting in Test cricket. He’s a class act. He played against Sussex last summer and scored a big hundred, 160 or something like that. I saw him play, bowled to him, saw a lot of balls fly over the ropes and through the ropes. So, yeah, it’s no surprise that he’s taken off the way he has.

After a few weeks off travelling, I’m back in Bermuda and looking forward to getting back out on the park against Western Stars. I’ve started training again this week and hopefully come Sunday, the weather can stay away and we can get a nice game on.

• Delray Rawlins was talking to Dexter Smith

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Published June 01, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated June 01, 2023 at 7:56 am)

Jadeja and Dhoni show age is just a number

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