IPL 2019: Huge turnout at MAC for CSK practice match

Raina enthralled the crowd, occasionally launching into his trademark powerful hoicks to leg but Dhoni's brief hit in the middle was the highlight. 

The crowd present during the Chennai Super Kings practice match at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Sunday rushed to the edge of the entrance in unison once word spread that the CSK team bus had arrived.   -  K. Pichumani

With the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League around the corner, Chennai has once again been taken over by Dhoni and Chennai Super Kings mania. 

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's ascent to dizzying heights put a small city like Ranchi inadvertently on the cricket map. But what exactly made this football goalkeeper-turned cricketer from the eastern state of Jharkhand, the heartthrob of a city 1,700 kilometres away from his hometown, makes one scratch their head in bewilderment to date. 

On Sunday evening, ahead of a CSK practice match at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, the serpentine queues outside the main entrance could be mistaken for an eager audience ramping up to an international match.

READ: IPL 2019: Smith checks in for Rajasthan Royals

The team bus arrived at the venue, to delirium. Every spectator on the periphery, unfazed by the gruelling heat and humidity, crowded around to watch.

Fans pushed and shoved. Security guards held hands, to stop the surge but to no avail.

Inside, the noise from the three jam-packed stands immediately rose by several decibels as the CSK players made their way to the middle.

It reached a crescendo when three-time IPL champion, Dhoni, marched out with his pads on during the innings break.  Dhoni rolled his arm briefly, as  the boisterous crowd swayed to the trajectory of the ball as it left his hand.

He took throwdowns from Tamil Nadu left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore and Chaitanya Bishnoi, carting huge sixes into the night sky, sending the stadium into raptures.

WATCH: IPL: Dhoni mania guarantees CSK vs RCB blockbuster

Raina enthralled the crowd, occasionally launching into his trademark powerful hoicks to leg but Dhoni's brief hit in the middle was the highlight. 

That said, it seems the fans have to wait until March 23 for the proverbial chopper to truly land. 

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