IPL 2023 Final: Dhoni Fans Hope For Perfect Weather In Ahmedabad Today

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Mon 29 May 2023, 12:03 AM

Last updated: Mon 29 May 2023, 7:00 AM

Cricket fans around the world will be praying for perfect weather in Ahmedabad on Monday after heavy rain and thunderstorms on Sunday forced the Indian Premier League final between holder Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings into a reserve day for the first time.

Rain began 35 minutes before the toss and went on for over two hours and 40 minutes before it stopped and raised hopes for the game to begin at the world's biggest cricket stadium.

But a second downpour washed out the day, leaving thousands of fans, who had taken shelter in the covered areas of the 132,000-seater stadium, disappointed. The ground was a sorry soggy sight when officials called off play for the day and a message on the giant screen, for the fans, read "please keep your physical tickets safe!".

The action will begin on Monday with an IPL final heading for a reserve day for the first time in its 16-year-long history.

Groundsmen cover the pitch on Sunday. - AP

The weather department of the western city predicts a slim (10 percent) chance for evening rains on Monday as well.

The match is believed to be Chennai skipper MS Dhoni's last as a player and fans turned up in numbers wearing the yellow jersey of the superstar cricketer.

Chennai will be aiming for a record-equalling fifth title to go level with IPL powerhouse Mumbai Indians, led by all-format India captain Rohit Sharma.

Dhoni has led his team to their 10th IPL final including four trophies and five runners-up finishes.

Suresh Babu, a software engineer, told AFP he had travelled from Chennai, at the other end of the country, "to see Dhoni lift the trophy one more time".

"I know it may be his last, but we pray that he comes back again next year," added the 43-year-old, who wore Dhoni's yellow Chennai jersey.

Gujarat has enjoyed huge home support in their second season in the competition, but loyalties will be divided due to Dhoni's presence.

A fans holds up a banner for her hero MS Dhoni. - AFP

The 41-year-old remains a huge draw in cricket-mad India and the finale is believed to be his last game as a player, despite the wicketkeeper-batsman saying he will make a call on his IPL future later this year.

The former India captain has filled venues all over the country during the current season, and the Narendra Modi Stadium will be no different in the tournament final on Monday.

Sharif, a T-shirt seller who goes by just one name, told AFP: "Last year it was just Pandya jerseys that were sold but this time Dhoni's Chennai number 7 T-shirt is equally in demand."

A young fan wearing a Pandya jersey said: "I want Hardik to win the IPL again but still want to see Dhoni hit the helicopter shot for a six."

That shot, a bottom-handed wristy flick, was Dhoni's trademark in his pomp.

But for that to happen, Ahmedabad needs clear skies on Monday.

The T20 competition, which began in 2008, has grown into the world's richest cricket tournament and a huge revenue earner for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).


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Khaleej Times

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