On 31 March 2023, the 16th edition of the Indian T20 League began. The Gujarat franchise took on Chennai in Ahmedabad in the season opener. However, the defending champion made a winning start by defeating MS Dhoni and his men by five wickets. Rashid Khan won the player of the match award.
So, it was a disappointing start for Chennai and their fans. However, after the match, the former team India batter, Virender Sehwag criticised MS Dhoni over his captaincy during the game. He said that Dhoni should have used Moeen Ali as a bowler and could have avoided preferring Tushar Deshpande.
“You don’t expect MS Dhoni making such mistakes often” – Virender Sehwag
While talking with Cricbuzz, Sehwag said: “Had Dhoni used an over from Moeen Ali somewhere in the middle, he may not have needed to go to Tushar Deshpande, who was highly expensive. You don’t expect MS Dhoni making such mistakes often, but that’s where you could use the risk-and-reward approach of using an off-spinner when right-handers are batting”.
Speaking of the match, Chennai batted first and scored 178 runs for seven wickets in 20 overs. Ruturaj Gaikwad smacked Lucknow bowlers all over the place as he scored 92 runs off 50 balls. MS Dhoni played a short cameo as he scored 14* runs off seven balls. In reply, Gujarat chased down the target with five wickets in hand. They even completed the chase with four balls left in the bag.
Shubman Gill was the highest scorer with 63 runs off 36 balls, including six fours and three sixes. Apart from him, Rashid Khan and Rahul Tewatia came up with short cameos to ensure their team’s victory in the season opener. Rashid won the player of the match award for taking two wickets and scoring 10* runs off three balls. So, Dhoni will look to make a comeback in winning ways in the second game. Now, Chennai will be in action on 3 April 2023 at their home ground against the Lucknow franchise.