CSK have again been crowned as the Champions of IPL yet again. The third for the franchise. In the final, they beat the ministry of defense, SRH and convincingly by 8 wickets after a Shane Watson masterclass.
CSK are now the most successful T20 team in India ever. They have matched the three IPL titles by Mumbai and have won the now-scrapped Champions League T20 twice.
CSK qualified for their 7th final in 8 times, the only exception being when they couldn't make it to the finals in 2009, the only IPL not held in the Indian Subcontinent; in South Africa, they made it to the Semis. But what makes them so successful? We take a look at 5 reasons CSK have been successful this season.
1) Motivation and drive to do well after making a comeback after two years
It's true. It seemed like everything went against them. The media was on their back ever since the auction, criticising the board vehemently for buying a squad that looked like the oldest ever assorted. Ironically, it was an almost 37-year-old, injured Shane Watson that won them the league in the final. 117 of 57 balls in a final is a match-winning inning 9 times of 10 and the minister of defense couldn't take the onslaught whatsoever.
Secondly, the change of venue. Having had to change venues after just one home game given the political intolerance over Cauvery issue meant that CSK had to leave their home and the yellow army of Chennai and move to Pune, their adopted home ground. This galvanized the team more than ever. So much so that even Dwayne Bravo came out with this issue after the final.
Not to forget how much everyone wanted to be a part of this franchise. CSK were banned from playing in the IPL for two seasons and that motivated the team to make a point and changed that maligned image with performances on the field. Sweet sweet cherry, they made the biggest impact possible.
2) Batting depth
The strongest weapon of any MS Dhoni side over the years has been a brilliant batting lineup. This time was no different. Rayudu, Watson, Dhoni all stepped up when required. All of the 3 scored more than 450 runs each, with Rayudu scoring more than 600 and being a strong competition in the Orange Cap competition. Shane Watson scored 2 hundred and Dhoni was back at his very best in this season's IPL when it came to finishing.
Everything just clicked. In the first half of this season it seemed like MSD's side would chase down anything and even they preferred batting second throughout. That just shows the amount of confidence MS Dhoni had on his batting.
3) Team Effort
Ask any successful team in the history of Team sports, they'll tell you the most important ingredient of any successful squad is the cohesion. Most teams crumbled this season struggling to find the best XI and Playing as a squad. Not CSK and that is characteristic to them in the IPL. Everyone chipped in. Bravo in the first match against finishing the match against MI, Faff winning the Qualifier 1 as the last man standing, Watson scoring 2 hundred, Thakur stepping up with the bat and partnering Faf, Ngidi being flawless throughout the playoffs. Rayudu led the batting and Dhoni finished. Raina batted like vintage old Raina against KXIP in their final match and add to that the innings of Deepak Chahar in the same match. These are the only we could list. This is a testament to the team spirit that ran through the whole squad during qualifying.
4) The Know-how
It just is in the DNA of the franchise to make it big. No matter who stays or who goes, no matter how many top players, no matter who's flopping they just make it through. 7 finals in 8 seasons, 2 CLT20s, it doesn't really get much better than that. Moreover, the experience in the squad showed. All those jabs about how the whole squad is on their pension period was trash talk that CSK conveniently binned in a majestic fashion. The franchise just knows how to win.
5) MS Dhoni
If you were to write about MS Dhoni as a captain in your exam paper, you'd surely exceed the word limit. The most successful Captain in the history of Indian cricket is also the most successful in domestic cricket. The number of times he's made a final, semi-final is a testament to how good his teams are and how good he is as a captain. But this time it was not just his captaincy.
He led from the front. No CSK fan will ever forget his innings in the loss to KXIP in their first meeting this season. In a losing cause, Dhoni destroyed the KXIP bowlers with a 44 ball 79. He was back and it was evident. This was his second most successful campaign with the bat and his finishing made quite a difference to these ‘bunch of Oldies'.
Well done CSK, you certainly deserved it.