MS Dhoni has been leading Chennai Super Kings' training sessions in the lead up to IPL 2019 (@ChennaiIPL Photo) HIGHLIGHTS MS Dhoni made the pitch invader chase him before greeting him during CSK's practice match on Sunday Chants of 'Dhoni… Dhoni' reverberated at Chepauk as close to 12,000 fans attended the intra-squad practice game CSK open their title defence in IPL 2019 against Royal Challengers Bangalore on March 23 Close to 12,000 fans made sure the stands at the MA Chidambaram Stadium was packed to the rafters on Sunday. Chennai Super Kings, the home team, were just playing a practice match. Yes, you read that right.
Chants of "Dhoni Dhoni" reverberated across Chepauk as fans queued in numbers to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars gear up for Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019, starting March 23.
Dhoni walked out to thundering cheers from the sea of yellow in the jam-packed stands late in the evening. Dhoni strode to the centre pitch in his practice gear and took a few throw downs.
Dhoni mania has gripped Chennai so much so that a fan managed to run onto the pitch in a bid to meet the India wicketkeeper. Dhoni had a smile on his face as he spotted the oncoming fan and ran around bowling coach L Balaji before greeting him with a handshake.
Catch Me If You Fan #AnbuDen Version! #SuperPricelessThala @msdhoni and the smiling assassin @Lbalaji55 ! #WhistlePodu pic.twitter.com/xvqaRKp9kB
Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) March 17, 2019 In the video available on social media, CSK officials can be seen taking the fan away from Dhoni even as more spectators run onto the ground.
"Now that we've got the best reactions, hoping nobody tries this again!" Chennai Super Kings wrote on Twitter after the video of the pitch invader went viral.
Whistle parakkum paaru! #ThalaParaak #WhistlePodu #Yellove pic.twitter.com/6EeMkYT0QY
Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) March 17, 2019 CSK have begun preparations for their title defence in full swing. Sunday's intra-squad practice match saw some of the big names, including Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu and Murali Vijay spend time in the middle.
The practice match was played under the watchful eyes of head coach Stephen Fleming, batting coach Michael Hussey and bowling coach L Balaji.
The #PracticeMatch scenes from #AnbuDen ! #WhistlePodu #YelloveAgain pic.twitter.com/63YoCb4hHj
Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) March 17, 2019 Notably, Dhoni had arrived in Chennai on Friday and immediately got down to business as he had his first training session on Saturday. The three-time title-winning skipper launched some huge sixes as he was seen timing the ball sweetly during the session.
With the local stars joining the squad well ahead of the season opener on March 23, overseas names are expected to arrive in Chennai over the next few days. England's big-hitting batsman, Sam Billings touched down in Chennai on Sunday.
Chennai Super Kings open their title defence against Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday. The tickets for the opening encounter has been sold out.
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