The dynamics of T20 game change so fast that the best of teams could be upset by an underdog on any given day. However there is one team which has proved critics wrong by pulling off wins with effortless ease and racked up titles with superlative consistency in the IPL – it is none other than Chennai Super Kings.
Chennai Super Kings have been the most dominant team in the history of the Indian Premier League. CSK have been twice crowned IPL champions, second only to the Mumbai Indians who have won the title thrice.
The ‘Yellow Brigade’ lifted the glittering trophy in the 2010 and 2011 editions of the league. Chennai with six title clash appearances also holds the record of making it to the most finals in the history of the league.
CSK consistency in winning matches is testified by their best win-loss record among the eight teams that feature in this edition’s IPL. In its eight seasons in the IPL, CSK have a staggering of 59.84 percent win percent record.
So what makes this franchise such a consistent outfit in a format which is highly unpredictable? Here are a look at some factors which made Chennai the team to beat in the IPL -
1. MS DHONI CALM AND COOL DEMEANOUR AS CSK SKIPPER
The most significant factor in making CSK a powerhouse in the IPL has been the charismatic leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Dhoni with his calm and cool demeanour held the team in good stead, earning the respect of his comrades by leading from the front.
While most of the other sides had a change of guard with their skipper, the CSK management stuck to MSD and the stability at the very top paid huge dividends. Dhoni’s analytical mind to read games, hisice-cooll temperament under pressure and his ability to produce match winning knocks with the willow rubbed off positively on the entire team
2. CSK PLAYED WITH A WELL SETTLED TEAM AND DINT CHOP OR CHANGE THEIR PLAYING ELEVEN TOO MUCH
Over the years, CSK played with a very settled team and dint tinker too much with their playing combinatons. The management restored confidence in their core group and gave them an extended run to prove their abilities. The team’s think tank should be given credit for making the right picks in the auctions which were held over the years.
3. STABLE AND WELL ORGANISED BATTING UNIT
CSK’s batting has always looked a well-oiled unit and pretty settled. Be it their opening pairs, right from explosive batsmen in Matthew Hayden, Murali Vijay and Dwayne Smith to the well organised Michael Hussey, they had the right openers to provide stability at the top and give the team the ideal platform to set a big score.
The middle order has been compact all through the IPL seasons and boasted of seasoned campaigners like Faf Du Plessis, Subaranium Badrinath Dwyane Bravo and Suresh Raina who could play the sheet anchor’s role to perfection.
4. SURESH RAINA HAS BEEN CSK’S BIGGEST MATCHWINNER WITH THE BAT
CSK’s X-factor in the batting has been the hard hitting left-hander Suresh Raina. The southpaw has been the biggest match winner with his swashbuckling hitting. Raina has won many a matches with his whirlwind cameos down the order. Add to that his part time off-spin and brilliant fielding that lifts up the entire unit's morale.
The Dhoni-Rania duo were indeed a calming influence down the order and helped the team cross the finish line in some nerve-racking encounters.
The yellow brigade always possessed quality all-rounders like Albie Morkel, Dwayne Smith, Ravindra Jadeja and Jacob Oram who lent the right balance and provided depth to their side. CSK had pinch hitters like Albie Morkel, Dwayne Bravo who could finish off close games with their power packed hitting.
5. SPIN HAS BEEN CSK’S BIGGEST WEAPON IN THE BOWLING ARMOURY
The cutting edge weapon in their bowling unit has always been their deadly spin attack. In the first three seasons, it was the Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan who cast a web around the opposition with his big turning off spinners.
Post Murali’s departure, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja formed a potent spin duo and made the most of the turning track at the Chinnaswamy stadium. Ashwin and Jadeja rose to meteoric heights with their wicket taking spree in the IPL and became Dhoni’s trump card.
Meanwhile, spinners like Shadab Jakati and Samuel Badree also helped the team’s cause by producing some match winning spells with their spin magic.
The Chennai pace attack has been well served by quality seamers. They were lucky enough to have world class pacers like Ashish Nehra, Dougie Bollinger, Ben Hilfenhaus, Laxmipathy Balaji, Mohit Sharma and Manpreet Gony who all were quite successful in making regular breakthrough’s for their side over the years.
So all in all, Chennai Super Kings have had the firepower to deliver the goods with both bat and ball at the big stage and the team gelled really well under the captaincy of MS Dhoni.
CSK comeS back to the IPL after serving a two years suspension. It will be interesting to see as to how does the traditional heavyweight stack up against their opponents in the eleventh edition of the IPL.