He shred a solid 40-run stand for the second wicket with F du Plesis after Deccan Chargers spinner Ankit Sharma sent back opener Murali Vijay (2) in the very first over of the match.
Earlier, Deccan stand-in skipper Cameron White won the toss and decided to field against defending champions Chennai.
After winning the toss, Cameron White said that he chose to bowl because there had been some dew around in the evenings leading up to this game.
Dhoni also seconded the logic and said that he would have done the same.
Super Kings are looking to bounce back after their humiliating defeat against Mumbai Indians in the campaign-opener.
Chennai, the most consistent side in the short history of IPL, were beaten fair and square in front of their home crowd by Mumbai in the inaugural match of the season on Wednesday.
The side led by India captain Dhoni did not look like a team chasing a hat-trick of titles with their key batsmen failing miserably and bowlers coming a cropper to lose against Mumbai by eight wickets.
Deccan, on the other hand, are one of the least fancied sides this year with some of their key players having to sit out of the tournament.
They failed to progress to the knock-out phase last year and finished seventh. This year, the Hyderabad-based side will miss the services of India pacer Ishant Sharma who underwent surgery on his ankle recently.
Much of Deccan’s batting responsibility will fall on Australian Cameron White, South African Jean-Paul Duminy Indian players Shikhar Dhawan and Parthiv Patel, this year’s only big signing.
On the bowling front, the outcome of the match could depend on South African tearaway pacer Dale Steyn and Indian leg-spinner Amit Mishra. Mishra was the leading wicket-taker for Deccan last season, with 19 scalps.
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Ravichandran Ashwin, Subramaniam Badrinath, Doug Bollinger, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, Albie Morkel, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay.