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MS Dhoni quietly disappears amid RCB’s emotional celebrations after CSK crash out; act fuels speculations about future

MS Dhoni’s disappearance after CSK lost to RCB has fuelled speculations on his future.

The match between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bengaluru on Saturday evening was billed as ‘the last dance’. In the sense that this was quite possibly the last time MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli would share the field together. Since it was a virtual knockout, a victory for one meant heartbreak for another. Usually, it’s easier to pick one, but in this case, even the most real, truest cricket fans were torn. If CSK won, it would mean another year of despair for Kohli, and if RCB emerged triumphant, it would mark the great man’s final appearance as a cricket. A double-edged sword that it was, eventually it was ecstasy for Kohli, agony for Dhoni as RCB defeated CSK by 27 runs to reach their 9th IPL Playoffs.

MS Dhoni shook a few hands and quietly vanished(Screengrab)

With 10 needed to win off 2 balls, when Ravindra Jadeja failed to put bat to ball, Dhoni sat shattered in the dugout, perhaps knowing this was it. But it was Dhoni’s post-match act that really put a huge question mark on his future. IPL 2024 was always believed to be Dhoni’s swansong. He had hinted at it last year itself, when he promised to come back for at least one more season to give the love back to his fans. Only this time, the ending wasn’t perfect.

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In a blink-and-miss visual, after RCB completed the win, Dhoni got up in the dugout ready to shake hands with the opposition. However, as RCB’s emotional celebrations ran wild and they took time to wrap it up, Dhoni turned back and walked off. While he did shake hands with some of the reserve players and support staff in the dug-out, Dhoni quietly disappeared without exchanging pleasantries with the likes of Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis, Mohammed Siraj and more. It was evident when Kohli and Co. shook hands with everyone from the CSK camp, barring Dhoni, who was missing and couldn’t be seen anywhere. Is this it? Is this the last we’ve seen of the great man?

Watch below as MS Dhoni quietly walks off:

Has MS Dhoni played his final IPL match?

If yes, the ending to Dhoni’s IPL and professional cricket career couldn’t have been more anti-climactic. Known to finish matches, Dhoni was there for CSK until the very last over. With 17 needed off the last over, Dhoni smoked Yash Dayal for a monster six that soared over 110 meters but failed to get the distance on the next, dismissed for 25 off 13 balls, having smashed three fours and a six. That Dhoni expressed his disappointment – he punched the bat after mistiming it (something he rarely does) – indicates that maybe it was indeed his swansong. But if there’s one thing the world has come to know about Dhoni, it is that you never know.

Even if it’s the end, don’t expect an announcement anytime soon. If he has indeed ridden into the sunset, he won’t take the limelight off the four teams that have fought tooth and nail, giving their sweat and tears to make it to the Playoffs. Certain former cricketers, including Dhoni’s close confidant Suresh Raina, feel he is not done and will return next year. CSK is him, he is CSK. And yes, while the baton has been passed on to Ruturaj Gaikwad, Chennai may need more of Dhoni’s inputs the next year unless Gaikwad is moulded into a finished product as captain

But who knows what’s going on inside the head of that mad scientist? In a mother of all coincidences, Dhoni’s last Test match – against Australia in Sydney – and ODI – against New Zealand in Manchester – were interrupted by rains. So… if you know, you know.


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