The Chennai Super Kings is not a team. It’s an emotion.
So say thousands of fans from Tamil Nadu who boarded trains and flights, and battled rains and traffic to watch their favourite men in yellow lift the IPL 2023 trophy. A last-ball nail-biting thriller in the rain-affected final was more than an emotional roller-coaster for the many CSK fans who had gathered to catch a glimpse of ‘Thala’ Dhoni. We speak to a few fans to gauge the excitement:
Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Actor
I had goosebumps after CSK’s win. It gave me so much happiness.
The last few days have been so eventful for many of us who travelled from Chennai to Ahmedabad to watch the match. Rain upset our plans on Sunday evening – we stayed back in the hotel, but I heard stories of many passionate cricket fans who slept in railway stations and malls to watch the live action.
On the evening of the final, the whole stadium was bathed in a sea of yellow, with fans from not just Tamil Nadu but across the world. It was crazy to watch something like that in the home ground of the Gujarat Titans. Most of them had come in the hope of watching one man: MS Dhoni.
The best moment, for me, was when Dhoni lifted Jadeja and cried. It showed us what this win meant for him. I had promised myself that if CSK wins, I’d turn vegetarian for a month. I now have to plan how to execute that!
Saravanan Hari, CSK superfan
Who could have imagined that a T-20 game would be played over three days? And, who could have imagined that, at the end of it, Captain Cool Dhoni would turn a tad emotional, probably for the first time ever?
There are no words to explain the happiness I experienced when Jadeja hit those winning runs off the last ball. Over the last few days, I saw many Tamil-speaking people in Ahmedabad, and all of them shared a common passion and wish: to watch CSK lift the IPL cup, yet again.
On the first day of the finals, there was mazhai (rain). And, on the next day, there was kaneer mazhai (tears of happiness).
The 2018 finals win was my favourite cricketing moment till now, but IPL 2023 has been unbelievable and super emotional as a fan of Dhoni and the men in yellow.
Aravind SA, stand-up comedian
I remember visiting Sabarimala in peak December season one time. The pay off was worth it, yes, but the hard yards one had to put was maddening. The IPL finals were sort of like that. After the first rain-washed day, I actually had second thoughts of staying back, considering how chaotic it was.
It all paid off in the end, of course. My defining moment was how Ambati Rayudu, playing his last IPL game, used all his experience to get CSK closer to victory.
This season was memorable because CSK won the tournament despite having one of the weakest bowling attacks in the competition. I attended the finals because I wanted to, and not because I was expecting a win. If anyone could pull off a victory with these bowlers and poor fielding, it could only be MS Dhoni, and just for that, IPL 2023 will be incredibly special.
Nithin Rangarajan, Product Manager
The minute we knew CSK was in the finals, a group of us booked flight tickets to Ahmedabad, without even knowing how we would figure out the actual match tickets.
Despite us managing that, things weren’t smooth sailing. The rains meant that a few of us had to crash at a friend’s room to ensure we stayed back for the finals. In fact, I had to buy extra clothes as I had packed just one yellow jersey for the finals!
We missed DJ Zen and his Tamil film numbers, which we got used to this season at Chepauk, but just for the sheer number of people at the Ahmedabad stadium, the air was at another level altogether. My voice is still hoarse from all that screaming, my sleep schedules have gone for a toss and my travel arrangements back to Chennai were a bit of a challenge, but CSK won, and that’s all that matters.