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Before his 250th IPL game, which is expected to draw more than 100,000 spectators, MS Dhoni fever grips Ahmedabad

More than 100,000 spectators were anticipated to pack the largest cricket stadium in the world on Sunday for the Indian Premier League (IPL) championship game and the possible retirement of superstar MS Dhoni.

In Ahmedabad, Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will compete against the defending champion Gujarat Titans (GT), hoping to win a record-tying fifth IPL championship. Dhoni will really be making his 250th IPL appearance, making him the first player in the competition's history to accomplish the accomplishment.

Gujarat, though, will not be taken lightly despite playing in their home stadium and attempting to defend the crown they won in a Cinderella maiden season a year ago. Gujarat is captained by Hardik Pandya.

In 2022, Pandya won the trophy in front of a record-breaking 101,566 spectators at the 132,000-seat stadium during a T20 cricket match. However, organizers were certain that the record would be broken on Sunday night.

Tickets for the grand finale are sold out, and we anticipate a packed crowd, a state association media officer told AFP.

In contrast to the authorities' expectations, just roughly 75,000 spectators showed up for the Friday game in which GT crushed Mumbai Indians.

On Saturday, a long line of spectators seemed happy as they waited to use their internet tickets at a booth outside the stadium.

To “see Dhoni lift the trophy one more time,” software developer Suresh Babu said he had traveled from Chennai, at the other end of the nation.

The 43-year-old, who was sporting Dhoni's yellow Chennai shirt, said, “I know it may be his last, but we pray that he comes back again next year.”

Gujarat has had a lot of domestic support during their second competitive season, but Dhoni's participation may cause divisions in the community.

Despite the wicketkeeper-batsman's statement that he would decide on his IPL future later this year, the 41-year-old is still a great attraction in cricket-crazy India, and it is widely assumed that the championship game will be his last as a player.

The current season has seen the former India captain pack up stadiums around the nation, and the competition final at the Narendra Modi Stadium won't be any different.

T-shirt vendor Sharif, who only goes by the name Sharif, told AFP that this year, Dhoni's Chennai number 7 T-shirt is equally popular. Last year, only Pandya jerseys were sold.

Young supporter wearing a Hardik Pandya shirt said: “I want Hardik to win the IPL again, but I still want to see Dhoni hit the helicopter shot for a six.”

In his prime, that shot—a bottom-handed wrist flick—became synonymous with Dhoni.

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