- Nasima Akter
Stadium Turns Yellow For MS Dhoni's 'Farewell' Match
The Eden Gardens in Kolkata witnessed a never-seen-before atmosphere as yellow fever took over the stadium during the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). The match was a tribute to the talismanic MS Dhoni, who possibly played his last match at the iconic venue.
The KKR franchise had planted their purple flags in every seat of the 67,000-capacity stadium before the match began on Sunday. However, once the spectators packed the stadium before the toss, all purple flags disappeared, and it was a sea of yellow in support of Dhoni.
Banners with messages for Dhoni could be seen everywhere, dominating the stadium and making it feel like a home game for CSK in their opposition's backyard. And it seemed like Dhoni and his team were fueled by the energy of the crowd as they put in a scintillating performance to win the game by 49 runs.
Dhoni, overwhelmed by the response, said at the toss, "I will just say thanks for the support. They are trying to give me a farewell, so thanks a lot to the crowd." Fans carried play cards where it was written: "Dear Mahi, take my life and play 100 years more." Dhoni finally made a grand entry after the dismissal of Rahane with two balls left in CSK's innings. All the fans greeted him by flashing their mobile phone cameras as he remained unbeaten on two from three balls.
In his post-match speech, Dhoni thanked the Kolkata crowd for their unwavering support, saying, "Most of these guys will come in a KKR jersey next time. They are trying to give me a farewell, so thanks a lot to the crowd." With comments like that, it's clear that Dhoni's future in the IPL is still up in the air, leaving fans wondering if this will be the last time they see him play in Kolkata.
Dhoni's Performance in the Match
The first ball he faced was a no-ball, and the fans shouted, "We want a helicopter shot." Dhoni finally got off the mark in the last ball of the match with a thump to long-off. Fans had arrived here from Cooch Behar in North Bengal and Odisha to witness Dhoni in action. Such was the never-seen Dhoni fever that gripped Eden on Sunday.
The CSK players, including Ajinkya Rahane, credited the tremendous show of support to Dhoni. "You always get to see such support when your team has Mahendra Singh Dhoni," Rahane said at the post-match press conference. KKR pacer David Wiese named it the Dhoni effect, saying, "It's the Dhoni effect. That's what he has on the Indian supporters."
The IPL match between CSK and KKR was a memorable one for cricket fans worldwide. The atmosphere at the Eden Gardens was electric, with fans coming out in large numbers to support their favorite team and Dhoni. It is a testament to the love and admiration that people have for one of India's greatest cricketing icons.
Following the match, CSK will enjoy their victory and prepare for their next game against the Rajasthan Royals. With performances like the one they put in against KKR, it's clear that they are a force to be reckoned with this season. And with Dhoni at the helm, there's no telling what they might achieve.