Former Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batter Suresh Raina lauded his former franchise and Indian teammate MS Dhoni following his explosive batting cameo against Delhi Capitals (DC) in their Indian Premier League (IPL) match on Sunday. Delhi Capitals clinched their first win of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 season with a 20-run triumph over the defending champions Chennai Super Kings at the ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium on Sunday. Though the home side walked away with the win, the highlight of the match no doubt was Dhoni’s late cameo.

In the match, the vintage ‘Thala’ (master) smashed sixes like only he does. Coming in the end, he scored 37* in 16 balls, with four boundaries and three sixes. His runs came at a strike rate of over 231. In the last over of the game, Dhoni smashed South African pacer Anrich Nortje, one of the finest pacers in the world, for 20 runs, including two fours and two sixes.

Following his knock, Raina, also known as ‘Chinna Thala’ or Dhoni’s right-hand among CSK fans, was full of praise for Dhoni, saying that inspiration knows no age and the 42-year-old’s batting prowess at this point of his career is a testament to his “unparalleled spirit and dedication”.

“Inspiration knows no age! Witnessing @msdhoni Mahi Bhai’s incredible batting prowess at 42 is a testament to his unparalleled spirit and dedication, @JioCinema #DCvCSK,” Raina said in a post on X.

Raina represented CSK along with MS for the majority of his IPL career from 2008-21, except for his stint with the Gujarat Lions (GL) from 2016-17. In 205 IPL matches, Raina scored 5,528 runs at an average of 32.51 and a strike rate of 136.73. He scored a century and 39 fifties in 200 innings of his IPL career, with the best score of 100*. He is the fifth-highest run-scorer in the IPL of all time.

Dhoni is the seventh-highest run-getter in IPL history, scoring 5,119 runs at an average of 39.07 and a strike rate of over 136. He has scored 24 half-centuries, with the best score of 84*.

DC won the toss and opted to bat first. David Warner (52 in 35 balls, with five fours and three sixes) and a returning Prithvi Shaw (43 in 27 balls, with four boundaries and two sixes) started off well with a 93-run opening partnership. Following their dismissal, DC lost their direction for a while until Rishabh Pant (51 in 32 balls, with four boundaries and three sixes) scored some quick runs in the end to take the side to 191/5 in their 20 overs.

Matheesha Pathirana (3/31) was the pick of the bowlers for CSK.

In the run-chase of 192, Khaleel Ahmed (2/21) and Mukesh Kumar (3/21) troubled the CSK batters with their line and length and at one point, CSK was 75/3 in 10.2 overs. Useful knocks came from Ajinkya Rahane (45 in 30 balls, with five fours and two sixes), Daryl Mitchell (34 in 26 balls, with a four and two sixes) and MS Dhoni (37* in 16 balls, with four boundaries and three sixes), but DC secured a 20-run win, restricting the five-time champions to 171/6.

Khaleel got the ‘Player of the Match’ for his match-winning spell.

CSK is in the second spot with two wins and a loss, giving them four points. DC is in the seventh spot, with a win and two losses, giving them two points.

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