Johannesburg: An emotional Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Monday said it could not get bigger for his side to bag their second title of the year by by winning the Champions League Twenty20 title here.
Dhoni heaped praised on his team-mates for playing as a cohesive unit to bag their second title in five months after winning the Indian Premier League in April.
“It is a big moment. We are playing for the last time as a unit. We know some players will no longer be with us after the IPL auction. It is an emotional moment,” he said after his side scored an easy eight-wicket win over Warriors in the lopsided grand finale at the New Wanderers Stadium.
“It can’t get better, winning the IPL and now the Champions League Twenty20,” he said.
He also gave credit to the team’s success this season to coach Stephen Fleming and the “fantastic” foreigners.
“Fleming took over as coach and we wanted to create an atmosphere that was good for the younger players. The senior players have really done a good job. We had some fantastic foreign players like Mike Hussey and Matthew Hayden who had really helped out the youngsters,” Dhoni said.
“I am really happy with the performance in the knockout stages. The bowlers had done really well. The pacers have done well but we had banked more on the spinners throughout the tournament. The line that Ravichandran Ashwin bowled with Muttiah Muralitharan was crucial. Laxmipathy Balaji was also very good,” he added.
He said his side had faced some fitness issues initially but overcame them to win the tournament.
The start of the tournament, a few of the players were infected with flu. But we overcame that and lifted the trophy. It was really satisfying,” said Dhoni.
“The environment has been superb. We got a lot of support in Durban. It was 50-50 support for both sides here,” he said.
Warriors captain Davy Jacobs said his side was disappointed to have lost in the final but admitted that Chennai deserved to win.
“We are disappointed but Chennai deserved to win. They beat us twice in the competition and they deserve to win it,” he said.
“We got off to a good start but their spinners tied us down. We lost wickets and some momentum and never recovered from there. We couldn’t get over the line but we’re happy to have been in the final,” he added.
Man of the Series, Ravichandran Ashwin, who took 13 wickets from six matches, said CSK’s loss to Victoria in the Super Over he bowled spurred him to play better instead of getting bogged down.
“Nothing more special than finishing the tournament with a victory. The match I played (against Warriors in last group match) after that Super Over defeat (against Victoria) was the best of my life this far. I had three days after the Super Over loss and I bounced back,” he said.
“Always bowling with Muttiah Muralitharan gives you an edge because the batsmen go after you and that gives you a chance to pick wickets.”
Man of the Match, Vijay said he was satisfied with his batting in the tournament as he became the tournament highest run getter with 294 from six matches.
“I’ve been working hard, and it’s a great tournament to be part of. It’s an amazing crowd here today and I’d like to thank them for their support,” he said.
“After we limited them (Warriors) to 120-odd, we just wanted to go out there and play our natural game. The pitch was a bit on the slower side. Hussey and I just tried to play naturally and did it.”