A total in excess of 200 looked to be on the cards until the Gujarat bowlers came back to stifle the run-rate and restrict CSK to 178/7, which the defending champions chased down with four balls to spare and five wickets in hand.
Gaikwad scored 92, but none of the other Chennai batters could cross 25.
“We all knew there will be dew. We could have done a bit more with the batsman-ship. Ruturaj (Gaikwad) was brilliant, he times the ball well and he’s a pleasure to watch. The way he picks his options, it is pleasing to watch. I think it’s important for the youngsters to step in,” said Dhoni referring to Gaikwad’s 92 off 50 balls.
Dhoni, however, praised IPL debutant Rajvardhan Hangargekar who took three wickets.
“I think Raj (Hangargekar) has pace and he will get better with time. Think the bowlers will get better, a no-ball is something that’s in your control, so you need to work on that. I felt two left-armers will be a better option, so I went ahead with them. Shivam (Dube) was an option, but I felt comfortable with the bowlers overall,” said Dhoni.
Titans skipper Hardik Pandya was pleased with the team’s performance.
“We did put ourselves in a difficult situation but Rahul and Rashid did very well. We were happy at the mid-innings because at one point they looked like getting 200, but we got those couple of wickets to pull things back.”
On the introduction of impact player in the IPL, he said: “Having this Impact rule makes my job difficult. I have too many options, and because of this someone will bowl less. This game I realised bowling hard lengths was the way to go, that’s why Alzarri bowled late.
“Having Rashid is a real asset, he will get you wickets and get you some runs late down the order as well.”
(With agency inputs)