Reactions from the Chennai Super Kings players to Star Sports soon after they won their third IPL title, with a thumping victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad.
MS Dhoni: "I think by the time you reach the final, everyone knows their roles and responsibilities, so you don't have to speak a lot. Yes, when you're fielding, you have to adjust your plans at times. You push your bowlers to give as less runs as possible so that you're not chasing extra runs. Other than that, even if you see today, we knew what our batting style is and how our batsmen bat. If someone is finding it difficult, there's no reason why someone else coming behind him will find it easy to score runs. So it was good we didn't lose too many wickets in the first half, because a lot of times you can get into the feeling that you need a good start to chase down 179. Then they have a mystery bowler in the form of Rashid, but what you also have to keep in mind is Bhuvi is equally deceptive, because with the new ball, he can swing it either way. He bowls a very good length so, it's not only one bowler. They had a few bowlers who could put pressure on the batsmen, so I thought it was a very good batting effort. At the start, yes maybe we felt we have to get moving, but we had the belief that we had the firepower to get the runs.
"I think we talk a lot about age, but what's important is the fitness aspect. Rayudu is 33, but he covers good ground. Even if he plays a few games where he's spent a lot of time on the field, he's not going to turn up and say I'm stiff. So fitness matters more than age. What we have seen is that our fitness has improved. Most of the captains want players who move well on the field. It doesn't matter who was born in which year, you have to be fit and agile. At the same time, we knew the shortcomings and had to accept areas that you won't be brilliant in. If I am pushing Watson to stop a single, there's a good chance he would burst his hamstring and won't be available. You don't want Watson or a Bravo injured because that will mean shuffling a lot of players to get the right combination or the same strength. Age is just a number.
"We are going to Chennai tomorrow. The plan was to go there irrespective of the result. We plan to meet fans and people close to the franchise. We will all have a get together in the hotel and enjoy the evening because this has been a fantastic win."
Shane Watson: "Look, it's been a special season. To get an opportunity again, for CSK to give me a chance after the previous season with RCB is incredible. Things fell my way nicely at certain times. To come good in such a big game means so much to the franchise. After those first 10 balls [when Watson scored no runs], I was hoping to catch up and at least get to a run a ball and then go from there. It's good I was able to get a couple of boundaries. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was very skillful with the new ball. We knew if we could get through six overs without much damage, we knew once the ball stopped swinging, it would be easier to get runs later. To have the support from Tommy Simsek (physio), Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni, especially towards the later stages, has been incredible. They've been superb with my recovery. The good thing is I don't have to play for three-four months now."
Dwayne Bravo: "It's been good, a special moment because the team hadn't played together for two years. For most of the guys, this was the first time with the franchise. Then we had to move from Chennai. Lot of things were going wrong, but we kept focus. There's nothing better than winning titles. That's why I'm very happy for the team. We always said experience will get the better of youth. The amount of games all of us have put together are for moments like these. Shane Watson batted on one leg, struggling with a hamstring injury, but his experience got him through. He's a world-class player and I'm very happy for the entire team."
CSK coach Stephen Fleming: "Each year has been different, we've been lucky to get a core group of players. We managed to stay consistent with a core set of skills, while other teams were chopping and changing. Experience tends to come through. It was this year, the quality of those players, you have to look at specialists as well. We just value and hope the big players on the big stage will come through. It's just a case of support in a lot of areas, a lot of man management in the group. 23-24 can be a large group to manage. Important to prepare the players, communicate. It's a nice relationship."
Harbhajan Singh: "It's brilliant to see what Watson brings onto the table, at this ground, no matter how many runs you have, everything is possible. So glad to be part of the winning side, this is my fourth IPL title. Considering Kane Williamson was in good form and they had a lot of middle-order batsmen who are right-handers, MS Dhoni wanted a bowler [Karn Sharma, who played ahead of Harbhajan] who can take the ball away. These days it's a trend, wristspinners are bowling more and more, fingerspinners aren't bowling that much. Hopefully that will change next year, well done to Karn Sharma."
Shardul Thakur: "Last year, I was part of the final but couldn't win. This year, it's incredible. I can't express the feeling in words. I'm on top of the world. The last game was on my mind. I knew I had to bowl well at the death. Today, I was right on top of the ball, executed what I wanted."
Ambati Rayudu: "I was really fortunate to have such a great season. I worked really hard for it, happy I could score the winning runs. The wicket looked slow, I thought it was damp but it got much better. I was confident we could chase this."
Ravindra Jadeja: "It's good to be part of a champion team. We did a good job on and off the field. Win or lose, we played as a team. Very happy that we're champions after a gap of two years."
Deepak Chahar: "Enjoyed the role of bowling with the new ball. I was waiting for my chances. Thanks to Mahi bhai, he believed in me. Everyone's dream is to play in the IPL and then win it. One of my dreams has come true."
Lungi Ngidi: "It has been amazing. This season has been a rollercoaster of emotions. It's lovely to have that (pressure) on your shoulders, and take the game one ball at a time."