Johannesburg - Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the Chennai Super Kings' eight-wicket win over the Eastern Cape Warriors in the final of the Champions League Twenty20 tournament was "a real emotional moment" for a team who might have been playing their last match together.
Looking ahead to a planned auction before the next Indian Premier League season, which could mean drastic changes to the teams, Dhoni paid tribute to his players, who clinched a double following their IPL triumph earlier this year.
Spin bowlers Ravichandran Ashwin and Muttiah Muralitharan set up the win as the Warriors were restricted to 128 for seven in 20 overs.
Chennai opening batsmen Mike Hussey and Murali Vijay put on 103 for the first wicket without needing to take any risks.
The result was never in any real doubt although there were only six balls to spare when Dhoni hit the winning runs.
The win earned Chennai a $2.5m jackpot while the Warriors took home $1.3m.
Dhoni paid tribute to coach Stephen Fleming who he said had helped create a dressing room atmosphere in which players went out of their way to help their team-mates.
"There was a great deal of help from experienced players like (Matthew) Hayden and Hussey and we are fortunate to have fabulous foreign players," said Dhoni.
Dhoni said Ashwin and Muralitharan had bowled superbly to change the course of the match after the Warriors got off to a flying start, with captain Davy Jacobs hitting 34 off 21 balls.
The South African team raced to 39 for no wicket in the first four overs before Ashwell Prince was bowled by Doug Bollinger for six.
Jacobs was out in the next over when he missed an attempted reverse sweep against Ashwin and was leg before wicket.
After that the scoring rate slowed to a trickle.
Ashwin, the top wicket-taker in the tournament, took two for 16 in his four overs and fellow off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan took three for 16.
Jacobs hit eight boundaries but the rest of the batsmen could only manage five fours and a six between them, with two fours and a six hit by Craig Thyssen off successive balls in the 17th over.
Vijay made 58 and Hussey 51 not out as they methodically chased down the Warriors total.
Vijay, who finished as the tournament's leading run-scorer, had two let-offs, both from Mark Boucher, the most experienced player in the Warriors team.
The South African Test wicketkeeper missed an edge off Rusty Theron when Vijay was on 15 and fumbled a stumping chance off left-arm spin bowler Nicky Boje when the batsman had scored 34.
Jacobs said Chennai were worthy winners.
"They beat us twice in the competition and they were better than us today so they deserved to win," he said.