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IPL win: Dhoni says fitness counts, not age, of CSK's 30-plus brigade

Shane Watson's sensational knock ensured CSK chased down a challenging 179 with ease in the final match of IPL 2018

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

MS Dhoni, KKR vs CSK, Ipl 2018
Chennai Super Kings' captain MS Dhoni plays a shot against Kolkata Knight Riders during IPL 2018 cricket match at Eden Garden in Kolkata. Photo: PTI

Chennai Super Kings' fairy tale comeback is a proof that fitness matter more than age, said after guiding his team to a third IPL title.

At the auction, CSK were criticised for picking up nine players in their 30s including and Ambati Rayudu, who eventually were instrumental in the team's triumph.

"We talked a lot about age but what matters is the fitness. Rayudu, for example, is 32, he's someone who is fit, covers a lot of ground. Even if he plays a few games where he spends a lot of time on the ground and in the field, he never complains. So it is the fitness that really matters more than the age aspect," said the 36-year-old Dhoni after the crushing win over SRH.

"What captains want is players who move well in the field. It doesn't matter which year a is born in, whether you are 19 or 20 - you have to be agile. You have to accept your shortcomings.

"For example, if I push Watson to stop a single, there is a very good chance that he'll burst his hamstring and won't be available for the next game. So what you tell yourselves is that they have to commit and try, but there's no point getting injured for a single," said Dhoni before adding the CSK squad will be heading to Chennai tomorrow for further celebrations.

Watson's sensational knock ensured CSK chased down a challenging 179 with ease. It was a memorable tournament for the 36-year-old Australian, who ended with 555 runs including two centuries and as many half centuries.

"It's been a special season, to be honest. To get a special season especially after the last season with RCB. It means a lot to be with a franchise like CSK. After those first ten balls I was only hoping to catch up to at least a run-a-ball," said Watson.

Watson battled and to take the team home.

"The good thing is that I wouldn't be playing for the next three-four months; feels great. It gives me plenty of time to recover. Throughout the back end of the tournament I was hanging on for dear life, and Dhoni have been looking after me really well and I am really glad to contribute like I did tonight," he added.

SRH also had a rich run with the bat, amassing 735 runs to end as the season's highest run-getter.

Willamson had replaced the suspended as just ahead of the IPL.

The New Zealander was disappointed that the team could not win the all-important final after posting 178 for six.

""We thought it'll be a competitive total, but the pitch did hold a bit. We saw that in our first five-six overs, and for the large part of the game we were doing okay. But hats off to You do have to congratulate CSK," he said.

"It's (loss) frustrating because we played some really good for the large part. Wasn't to be, and they certainly showed their experience. The boys are hurting at the moment, but we've fought hard. A shame not to come across the line, but a lot of positives," he added.

First Published: Mon, May 28 2018. 13:42 IST