Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya has paid tribute to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, captain of the Chennai Super Kings, and said he will always be a Dhoni fan. He also said that one would have to be a proper devil to hate the former India captain.
Tuesday night at Chepauk, the first playoff matchup pits Hardik’s GT against Dhoni’s CSK. Both teams have been consistent in using the same starting XI and have played solid cricket all season.
“A lot of people think Mahi is serious and all that. For me, I crack jokes and I don’t see him as Mahendra Singh Dhoni,” Hardik said in a video posted by Gujarat Titans on social media.
“Obviously, I have learned a lot of things from him, a lot of positive things, which I’ve learned from him just while watching, not even much talking. But for me, he’s just my dear friend, dear brother, who I do pranks, who I chill with.
I’ll always be a Mahendra Singh Dhoni fan, and for so many fans out there and so many cricket lovers. You need to be a proper devil to hate MS Dhoni,” he added.
Hardik led Gujarat Titans won 10 of their 14 games in the group stages, and ended at the top spot on the points table, with 20 points to their tally and a net run rate of +0.809.
On the other hand, Dhoni’s CSK won 8 of their 14 games this season, and ended in the second position on the points table, with 17 points to their tally and a net run rate of +0.652.
In their lone encounter during the IPL 2023 group stage, Gujarat Titans defeated them by a margin of five wickets. In total, these two teams have faced off three times in IPL history, with Gujarat Titans coming out on top in all three contests.