IPL 2023: Heart is backing CSK because of MS Dhoni factor, says Irfan Pathan before grand finale

New Delhi,UPDATED: May 27, 2023 13:06 IST

By India Today Sports Desk: Former all-rounder Irfan Pathan said that he is spoilt for choices ahead of the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 between Gujarat Titans (GT) and the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to be played on Sunday, May 28 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

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Pathan said that the upcoming match will be “emotional” for him for certain reasons. The veteran, however, said that keeping in mind the doubts over MS Dhoni’s participation in the IPL 2024, he is slightly inclined towards CSK winning IPL 2023.

“Quality wise, Gujarat Titans are much ahead in the bowling department than CSK. In terms of man-to-man marking, Gujarat Titans are ahead. But it will be an emotional match between CSK and GT. I am a Gujarati and will want GT to win, but my feelings are inclined towards MS Dhoni. There’s still no clarity on whether he’ll play next year. Because of the Dhoni factor, the heart is backing CSK,” Pathan told Star Sports.

Pathan also heaped praise on Shubman Gill, who looked in excellent shape in Qualifier 2 on Friday against Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians (MI). Gill scored 129 runs off 60 balls with seven fours and 10 sixes and guided the Titans to a 62-run win. He also became the Orange Cap holder in the ongoing tournament, going past Faf du Plessis.

“Years later when you’ll look back, you will remember this knock. If you look at the history of TATA IPL qualifier matches, you will hold this knock from Gill in high regard. It was completely different from what we have witnessed in the knockout stages of TATA IPL. The way Gill groomed this knock and the way he targeted MI’s main bowlers is commendable,” he added.

Even as CSK will be looking to win their fifth title, equally MI’s IPL record, the Titans will be aiming to defend their title successfully.