After eight weeks of pulsating action which saw ebbs and flows rise to accentuating levels, the CSK scripted a sensational heist as they defeated the Sunrisers Hyderabad, thanks to a fairytale hundred from Shane Watson (117 off 57 balls).
It was indeed a triumph engineered on the tactical genius of MS Dhoni. Think of it, the franchise was coming off after serving a suspension of two years on corruption charges and had a squad, which was pretty much written off as ‘too old' at the start of the tournament. But if ever there was a captain that knew how to manage its players, and get the best out of them, better than ‘Thala' MS Dhoni.
Whether it was Bravo (68 off 30 balls) in the opening game against MI, Dhoni's match-winning knock against RCB, Billings memorable 50 in a tricky run-chase against KKR, Watson's swashbuckling 100 against RR or Ngidi's 4-10 to knock KXIP out, CSK found a match-winner for every situation.
However, few International recruits did not live to the expectations and might get a release from CSK next season.
Also Read: The Flop IPL 2018 XI
Here's my compilation:
#3 Sam Billings
Apart from a match-winning 56 against the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens, it is safe to say that Sam Billings has had an ordinary year with the bat for the Chennai Super Kings.
Billings, who was racked up at the base price of Rs 1 Crore, has scrapped to a mere 108 runs in 10 matches at a disappointing average of 13.50, and with the likes of Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson forging crucial roles, Billings place might come in jeopardy next season.
Also Read: Top Five Overseas Recruits of IPL 2018
#2 Mark Wood
The tall and a hit-the-deck right-handed English fast bowler, Mark Wood, was racked up by the Chennai Super Kings at the 2018 IPL Auctions at the base price of ₹1.50 Crore.
But the English fast bowler featured in just a lone game (tournament opener vs. MI), in which he conceded 49 runs and went wicketless. Wood sat out for the next nine games that CSK played and eventually cut short his campaign, in a bid to prepare for the English summer.
With Lungisani Ngidi filling in the role of a potent fast bowler during the later stage of the tournament, Wood's position might come in jeopardy next season.
#1 Imran Tahir
Much was expected from veteran South African leg-spinner, Imran Tahir, when he was racked up by the Chennai Super Kings in the 2018 Auctions. Chennai had built their squad around their spinners, but their plans received a jolt when their home games were shifted from Chepauk to Pune, and it perhaps rendered Imran Tahir redundant.
Tahir, who was bought by CSK, at a base price of Rs 1 Crore, did not have a fruitful 2018 season and accounted for just six wickets in six matches at an average of 31.33 and an economy of 9.09.
With the duo of Ravindra Jadeja (10 wickets in fifteen matches) and Harbhajan Singh (7 wickets) filling in the role of spinners with precision, Tahir has remained out of favor for a significant part of the season and can face the axe next year.