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Chennai Super Kings

Dhruv Rupani March 9, 2012
Chennai Super Kings Logo

Chennai Super Kings Logo

Chennai Super Kings was bought by India Cements in the 2008 team auction for $USD 91 million, making it the third most expensive franchise to have been purchased in the first three years of the competition. Ironically, its owner is N Srinivasan, who is not only the Chairman of India Cements but also the current president of the BCCI.

Chennai seemed to be a powerhouse team at the beginning of the inaugural season of the tournament as in the player auction, they purchased some of the best T20 players in world cricket such as Australia’s legendary opening batsman Matthew Hayden and the finisher ‘Mr. Cricket’, Michael Hussey as well as all-rounders Albie Morkel and Jacob Oram from South Africa and New Zealand respectively. They also managed to acquire the services of South African fast bowler Makhaya Ntini and Sri Lanka’s spinning champion Muttiah Muralitharan, which strengthened their bowling attack to a huge extent.

Amongst the Indians, they purchased Suresh Raina and wicketkeeper batsman Parthiv Patel in the auction and got several talented local players such as S Badrinath and Lakshmipathy Balaji. But it was India’s captain MS Dhoni who was the most expensive player that season and was bought by Chennai for a staggering $USD 1.6 million. He was consequently named the icon player of the team as well as its captain.

Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2008 – 2nd position

MS Dhoni - Face & Fate of Chennai Super Kings

MS Dhoni – Face & Fate of Chennai Super Kings

Chennai Super Kings began the first season of the IPL with a bang, defeating Kings XI Punjab in Mohali by 33 runs in what was a high-scoring match. A day after Brendon McCullum smashed 158 for the Kolkata Knight Riders in Bangalore; Michael Hussey decided to come up with a gem of his own, hitting 116 runs off just 54 balls and remaining unbeaten in the end as that effort took Chennai to 240/5 in 20 overs. ‘Mr. Cricket’ seemed to be irritated by the fact that his younger brother David Hussey was bought at a much greater price in the auction and with a flat pitch in Mohali, he proved why he is one of the finest batsmen in T20 cricket across the world till date.

That was followed by a close game against a Mumbai Indians team sans Sachin Tendulkar at Chennai, where the Super Kings won by 6 runs as another Australian, Matthew Hayden went berserk in his innings of 81 runs off 46 balls and won the man of the match award for the same. Another home game was played against another favourite, Kolkata Knight Riders but they were smashed by 9 wickets as Jacob Oram bowled a fine spell for the Super Kings, that of 3/32 in 4 overs to help restrict Kolkata to a total a tad below 150, which made it the chase possible for Chennai to complete.

Their next match was an away match against one of their southern rivals, Royal Challengers Bangalore and still Chennai prevailed by 13 runs as Dhoni for the first time played a captain’s knock to help his team overcome the Royal Challengers’ threat with a 30-ball 65, and won the man of the match award in the process. At this point, Chennai was the No.1 team in the points table with four consecutive victories but the team was about to be hit badly with exits of their star overseas players such as Hussey, Hayden and Oram who were ordered to join their national teams for the respective international tours at the time.

They received a royal thumping in the hands of the Delhi Daredevils at home, by 8 wickets and lost by the same margin in Jaipur to yet another resurgent team, Rajasthan Royals as Sohail Tanvir ripped apart the Chennai batting line-up with 6 wickets in 4 overs. And the biggest surprise came in the hands of their other southern counterparts, Deccan Chargers who posted their first victory of the tournament in Chennai by 7 wickets. It completed a hat-trick of defeats for the Super Kings and at the halfway stage, it was a do or die situation for Dhoni’s men.

An inconsistent run followed, which started with a win against the Delhi Daredevils in the return game in Delhi by 4 wickets courtesy Dhoni’s run-a-ball 33 and more importantly fast bowler Manpreet Gony hitting 15 runs off the last over of the match, bowled by Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik. Then up next was the Kings XI Punjab again and Lakshmipathy Balaji became the first bowler in the history of the IPL to take a hat-trick as his spell of 5/24 in 4 overs, helped Chennai beat Punjab by 18 runs at home.

They were undone by Sanath Jayasuriya’s quickfire century in Mumbai, which single-handedly won Mumbai Indians a home game by 9 wickets, although they were to chase 155 under lights. But Chennai was fortunate enough to have won by 3 runs as per the D/L method in Kolkata against the Knight Riders, as South Africa’s legendary pacer Makhaya Ntini picked 4/21 in 4 overs which again helped Chennai’s target much easier to achieve.

However, Chennai Super Kings suffered two back-to-back home defeats, the first being in the hands of the Royal Challengers Bangalore by 14 runs and the second being in the hands of the Rajasthan Royals by 10 runs, although South African all-rounder Albie Morkel won the man of the match award in this game for his terrific all-round performance of 2/35 in 4 overs and smashing a 40-ball 71 in an otherwise futile run chase for the team.

The losing streak though was arrested in Hyderabad, with a tit-for-tat 7 wicket victory against the Deccan Chargers where finally Suresh Raina was rewarded for his batting performance, as he guided the team home in a run chase of 148, remaining unbeaten on 54 off 43 balls. That ensured that Chennai finished third on the points table, and as a result made it to the semifinals of the competition.

Their opponents in the semifinal were Kings XI Punjab, and this was a much awaited clash with Yuvraj and Dhoni ironically being on the opposite sides for this crunch game at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Punjab were the favourites coming into the game due to their recent form, but Chennai proved that in T20s, a team in good form might have one off day which can end their chances of winning the competition. The Super Kings were clinical in their performance as they thrashed Punjab by 9 wickets with Ntini’s good season continuing, as he was declared the man of the match award for his economical spell of 2/23 in 4 overs.

Thus, the team reached the grand finale where their opponents were Rajasthan Royals, the only team which they were unable to defeat in that year’s competition. The match went till the last ball, when Sohail Tanvir hit the winning runs fittingly with the captain Shane Warne at the other end. Rajasthan won by 3 wickets and ended a fairytale campaign by being the first ever champions of the IPL.

But Chennai admirably fought till the very end and this match laid the foundation of a great T20 team in the making. The Super Kings finished 2nd with 9 wins in 16 matches that they played on aggregate and it capped off a near to perfect season for Dhoni, under whose captaincy India had won the World T20 in 2007.

Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2009 – 4th position

Chennai first made headlines in the 2009 season with the purchase of English all-rounder Andrew Flintoff for $USD 1.5 million, making him the most expensive player of the season. Besides Flintoff, they managed to avail the services of Sri Lankan all-rounder Thilan Thushara, Australian batsman George Bailey who was expected to play in the absence of his colleague Michael Hussey, and the Indian duo of Murali Vijay and Shadab Jakati.

They kick started the 2009 competition with a match against the Mumbai Indians in Newlands, Cape Town. However, Mumbai played some terrific cricket to defeat Chennai by 19 runs and this match was needed for the IPL to begin in style. The team however, won their first game that year against the Royal Challengers Bangalore at Port Elizabeth by a huge 82 run margin with Sri Lanka’s spin king Muttiah Muralitharan declared the man of the match for his outstanding spell of 3/11 in 4 overs.

But the Virender Sehwag-led Delhi Daredevils won a close contest against them at Kingsmead, Durban by 9 runs and followed by which, the Super Kings’ match against the Kolkata Knight Riders on their return to Cape Town was washed out due to rain. This inauspicious beginning saw Chennai languish at the bottom of the points table. Their misery just did not seem to end as a rejuvenated Deccan Chargers side prevailed against them by 6 wickets in Durban, and this ground which was Dhoni’s lucky one as India’s captain in the World T20 2007 was no longer proving to be so for him as the captain of the Chennai Super Kings.

However, that defeat spurred on the team to pull off an amazing winning streak of five games which began with a morale-boosting win against the defending champions and their biggest nemesis, Rajasthan Royals by 38 runs in Pretoria where Suresh Raina won the man of the match award for his 55-ball 98 as well as his bowling figures of 1/11 in 2 overs and two catches on the field as well. It was followed by a convincing 18 run victory against the Delhi Daredevils in their second bout in Johannesburg. The young left-arm spinner from Goa, Shadab Jakati made a name for himself in this match with an outstanding bowling spell of 4/24 in 4 overs.

Deccan Chargers were also beaten in their return clash against the Chennai Super Kings in East London by a comprehensive 78-run margin as MS Dhoni was declared man of the match yet again, for his unbeaten 58 off 37 balls. Their next challenge was facing Kings XI Punjab in Pretoria and Matthew Hayden finally won a man of the match award for his 58-ball 89 which resulted in Chennai winning by 12 runs, as the innings made a big difference in the game.

Rajasthan Royals were outclassed yet again at Kimberley by the rampant Super Kings outfit by 7 wickets as Subramanium Badrinath was named man of the match for his fine innings of 59 runs off 41 balls, remaining not out till the end of the run chase. The win ensured that Chennai took perfect revenge against the team which they could not defeat throughout the championship the previous season. But Chennai suffered a mini setback with a narrow 2 wicket defeat to a resurgent Royal Challengers Bangalore side in Durban, which made their chances of making it to the semifinals slightly difficult.

But they could mitigate that threat with a convincing 7 wicket win against the Mumbai Indians at Port Elizabeth as Hayden won his second man of the match award for scoring a controlled 60 off just 57 balls which was critical to guide the team’s run chase. Come the penultimate last round robin match though, and they suffered a 7 wicket defeat this time. It was in the hands of the bottom ranked Kolkata Knight Riders in Pretoria as captain Brendon McCullum and Australia’s Brad Hodge scored gritty fifties to ensure that their team chased a tough target of 189 successfully, on the last ball. This was easily the biggest upset of the IPL 2009 as only a brave man would have put his money on the Knight Riders winning that day.

The Super Kings somehow made it to the last four for the second year in a row with an impressive performance against the Kings XI Punjab, in a match in Durban where they successfully a total of 115 courtesy Muttiah Muralitharan’s probing spell of 2/8 in 4 overs. Their unbeaten run against Punjab continued and in what was virtually a quarterfinal match, Punjab was were knocked out of the competition as they finished 5th while the Chennai Super Kings finished third on the points table yet again just above the eventual champions that season, Deccan Chargers.

Their semifinal opponents this time were the Royal Challengers Bangalore but Kumble’s men proved to be too strong on the day at the Bull Ring in Johannesburg for Dhoni and co. as they registered a comfortable 6 wicket victory to unceremoniously dump the Super Kings out of the tournament, in the process crushing the dream of Dhoni to win another title in South Africa as captain of a team. Chennai finished 4th eventually in the competition with a total of 8 wins in 15 matches, which also involved 6 defeats and 1 no result.

But one of the positives the team took was Matthew Hayden winning the Orange Cap for scoring the highest amount of runs in the IPL 2009 with over 600 runs to his name, and in the process being the second Australian in doing so.

Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2010 – 1st position

Chennai Super Kings Winners of IPL 2010 Championship

Chennai Super Kings Winners of IPL 2010 Championship

The only changes to the squad this season were South Africa’s batting all-rounder Justin Kemp who came in for Andrew Flintoff, since he decided not to participate in that year’s IPL due to an injury, and Sri Lanka’s hard hitting bowling all-rounder Thisira Perera who was purchased in the auction. They also managed to buy Hemang Badani, one of the discarded Indian batsmen and an ex-ICL player alongside local all-rounder Ganapathy Vignesh.

Chennai once again began an Indian Premier League tournament on a disastrous note, losing to the defending champions Deccan Chargers, that too at home by 31 runs. But they managed to win their first match of the competition in the next game against the Kolkata Knight Riders in Kolkata by 55 runs as MS Dhoni was one again the star of the team with the bat, due to his knock off 66 off just 33 balls, remaining unbeaten in the end. They also managed to clinch another away victory at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, defeating the Delhi Daredevils by 5 wickets as Matthew Hayden proved why he deserved to make the headlines of a sports page again, because of his extremely light-weight and innovative looking ‘Mongoose’ bat as that helped him score 93 runs in 43 balls.

But then disaster struck for this team beginning from the next game against the Kings XI Punjab at home. Their unbeaten streak against the team came to an end in what was a thrilling match, which went down to the Super Over at the Chidambaram Stadium. Punjab fought impressively till the very end to ensure that they create history by winning the second Super Over match in the history of the IPL and their first match against Chennai Super Kings. Royal Challengers Bangalore thrashed them by 36 runs in Bangalore, while the Mumbai Indians were led by their in-form captain Sachin Tendulkar in the run chase of 181 and met with success eventually, winning by 5 wickets with six balls to spare. The Mumbai defeat inspired Rajasthan to win against them in one of their ‘home’ grounds, Ahmedabad by 17 runs.

But then the Chennai Super Kings proved why they deserved to be the champions that season. In the hat-trick of home games to follow, the team fought with vengeance against ironically the same three teams which beat them earlier at their home grounds. Royal Challengers Bangalore was beaten by 5 wickets with Murali Vijay beginning an amazing run of form, forming an excellent partnership with Matthew Hayden at the top of the order. His 39-ball 78 made him the man of the match for the Bangalore game.

Against the Rajasthan Royals in the next game, Vijay scored a memorable hundred, more precisely a 56-ball 127 which saw Chennai prevail by 23 runs and the match also co-incided with the Australian pacer Doug Bollinger playing his first ever match for the Chennai Super Kings, as a replacement player for the injured New Zealand all-rounder Jacob Oram. The confidence was suddenly back in the team as they successfully strangled the table toppers, Mumbai Indians to win by 24 runs in a match which was more or less low-scoring as Suresh Raina yet again proved to be the difference between Chennai and its opponents with another all-round performance of an 18-ball 23 and 1/12 in 2.3 overs.

They lost to the Deccan Chargers for the second time in the tournament, by 6 wickets in Nagpur as well as the Delhi Daredevils at home by the same margin which was slightly shocking to watch. But a 9 wicket win at home against the Kolkata Knight Riders courtesy off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s spell of 3/16 in 4 overs, and a 6-wicket win against the Kings XI Punjab in Dharmasala in the final round robin game ensured that their net run rate was higher than the other teams in the competition as they finished with 7 wins in 14 matches.

Chennai were fortunate enough to make it to the semifinals as their performance was the same as the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Daredevils and the Kolkata Knight Riders. They were third on the points table for the third year in the row as they were scheduled to play last season’s champions Deccan Chargers in the semifinal in Navi Mumbai and this was an uphill task considering the pressure that this game would bring about plus the fact that they could not beat Deccan earlier in the competition.

But the team somehow held their nerve to win that semifinal by 38 runs as Doug Bollinger’s entry was a blessing for this team. The Deccan batsmen had no answer to his fine spell of bowling, as he ended with 4/13 in 4 overs and that led the team into the finals of the competition which was against the most consistent team that season, Mumbai Indians.

It was more or less a one-sided final as Suresh Raina made it his day with a spectacular 35-ball 57 and 1/21 in 2 overs and took the game away from Mumbai, which wilted under pressure of their home crowd expecting them to fire every ball. Chennai had finally won the IPL! And MS Dhoni made history by being the first Indian captain to lay his hands on an IPL trophy, since Australia’s Shane Warne won it for the Rajasthan Royals in the first season and his teammate and another Aussie legend Adam Gilchrist won it for the Deccan Chargers in the second season.

Chennai Super Kings in the Champions League T20 2010

Chennai unfortunately could not participate in the 2008 edition of the tournament, despite qualifying for it since it was cancelled following the Mumbai bomb blasts. The next year, they did make it to the semifinals of the IPL in South Africa but were considered as the 4th best team out of the 8 teams since they lost to the eventual runners up, Royal Challenger Bangalore in the semifinal. This did not allow them to play in the 2009 tournament in India, which New South Wales won.

However, since the Chennai Super Kings won the IPL 2010, the team automatically qualified to play the Champions League T20 2010 in South Africa and was grouped with South Africa’s Chevrolet Warriors, Australia’s Victoria Bushrangers, Sri Lanka’s champions Wayamba Eleven and New Zealand’s Central Stags.

They began with a colossal 57 run win against the Stags  as Subramanium Badrinath won the man of the match award for his unbeaten 42-ball 52. That was followed by an even more comprehensive victory against Wayamba by 97 runs, with Suresh Raina declared man of the match for his 44-ball 87 and R Ashwin picking 4/18 in 4 overs.

A cracker of a game followed against the Victoria Bushrangers as both the teams scored 162 in 20 overs and the match went down to the Super Over, in which Victoria won. But Chennai managed to pull things back with a crucial 10-run win against the Warriors in the last group match at Port Elizabeth as Ashwin continued his good form with the ball, while Michael Hussey’s 39-ball 50 made him the man of the match as that innings was well-played, considering the wicket not being so batting friendly.

They topped the group, which set up their semifinal clash against staunch IPL rivals Royal Challengers Bangalore in Durban and they won the contest by 51 runs as Bangalore had to suffer from several injuries during the course of the match and Chennai took full advantage of it. Their confidence was sky high as they reached the finals of the tournament unbeaten at the point, and they had to face the home team Warriors in Johannesburg.

Another all-round performance was to be seen as Chennai prevailed by 8 wickets with one over to spare in the final, and MS Dhoni completed a dream double of being the captain of the team to lift the IPL and the Champions League titles the same season, proving that Chennai Super Kings is indeed the numero uno T20 team in club cricket across the world.

Murali Vijay won the Golden Bat Award for scoring the highest amount of runs in the tournament and Ravichandran Ashwin won the Golden Ball Award for taking the highest number of wickets. Vijay was the man of the match in the final, while Ashwin was declared the man of the tournament, and this was the first step towards his glory and the India cap.

Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2011 – 1st position

This year, most of the teams in the competition decided to revamp their squads completely so that they stand a chance of winning the IPL title atleast once in the next three years. But Chennai was different and somehow managed to buy almost all of their players that had played in the first three seasons, in the auction.

After retaining the Indian trio of MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay and South African all-rounder Albie Morkel, they purchased back Ravichandran Ashwin, Subramanium Badrinath, Shadab Jakati, Sudeep Tyagi and the Australian trio of Michael Hussey, George Bailey and Doug Bollinger for economical prices. This ensured that their core squad remained the same. Whereas, in addition to all these players, West Indies’ all-rounder Dwayne Bravo was bought from the Mumbai Indians, Indian wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha was bought from the Kolkata Knight Riders, the Sri Lankan bowling duo of Nuwan Kulasekara and Suraj Randiv, Australia’s pacer Ben Hilfenhaus, New Zealand all-rounder Scott Styris and South Africa’s batsman Francois du Plessis were acquired as well.

Chennai seemed to be a much stronger team than the last season and easily came into the tournament as the favourites and ofcourse the defending champions. But Dhoni’s men were given a tough fight at home in their first match in the IPL 2011 by the new look Kolkata Knight Riders side, led by Gautam Gambhir. The Super Kings were extremely fortunate to escape with a 2-run victory as Srikkanth Anirudha, the opening batsman and the son of India’s chairman of selectors, Krishnamachari Srikkanth scored a fifty and Tim Southee, the young New Zealand fast bowler who was drafted in as a replacement for Ben Hilfenhaus, bowled a fine last over to seal the victory for Chennai. Their weaknesses were apparently exposed by what was a literally second-string Knight Riders outfit, which had only two foreign players in that match.

In the next match, however those weaknesses came to the fore against the Kings XI Punjab in Mohali. Chennai managed to reach a total of above 180, which was more than competitive on the track but the rookie opening batsman, Paul Valthaty snatched the game away from them with a stunning counterattack, scoring 120 off just 63 balls to help Punjab shock Chennai by 6 wickets and in the process gaining a crucial home victory.

Another inconsistent run was to be seen as they managed to pull off a 21 run win at home against an out of sorts Royal Challengers Bangalore at home, as Michael Hussey batted the entire 20 overs to remain unbeaten on 83, taking 56 balls to get there, which won him the man of the match award. They were on the receiving end of a fine batting performance of one of the new teams, Kochi Tuskers Kerala in Kochi where the D/L method supported the home team. A target of 132 was chased down in 15 overs itself, as Brendon McCullum went berserk.

Whereas in Mumbai, they lost by 8 runs against a spirited Mumbai Indians team which came from behind to win courtesy Harbhajan Singh’s five-wicket haul, which included the key wickets of Suresh Raina and Albie Morkel. But Michael Hussey was in top form as he helped Chennai Super Kings beat the other new team; Pune Warriors India at home by 25 runs as his innings of 61 off 48 balls was the key in helping the team get to a total of 142 in 20 overs. While in the return game against the same team in Navi Mumbai two days later, Chennai won by 8 wickets largely due to the spell of another Aussie, Doug Bollinger who finished with figures of 3/21 in 4 overs.

The Super Kings continued to find solace at home, defeating the Deccan Chargers by 19 runs thanks to Albie Morkel’s 19 runs in an over and bowling figures of 3/38 in 4 overs. While in the next match against the Rajasthan Royals, Michael Hussey was named man of the match for the third time in the tournament as his unbeaten 79 off 55 balls steered Chennai to the victory post by a comfortable 8 wicket margin.

They suffered a 10-run defeat in Kolkata against the Knight Riders with the D/L method again playing Judas in their chances of winning. But Chennai did not take it deep within themselves and went on to beat Rajasthan Royals again, this time in Jaipur by 63 runs as Murali Vijay’s record against Warne and co. continued with his 40-ball 53, which won him another man of the match award.

The underperforming Delhi Daredevils side was also beaten convincingly by 18 runs in Chennai by Dhoni’s men as it was Dhoni who this time joined the party with his unbeaten 31-ball 63. But they were saved the blushes of their first home defeat of the season in the hands of the Kochi Tuskers Kerala at home, where Wriddhiman Saha, in only his second match of the competition, hit a crucial 33-ball 46 and stayed not out till the end of the innings which took Chennai to a much defendable total of 152. The Super Kings won the match coming from behind, by 11 runs.

However, in their last round robin match, they were at the receiving end of the in form Chris Gayle’s fifty which saw them lose by 8 wickets in Bangalore and that ensured that they finished second in the points table. Following Kolkata Knight Riders’ shock defeat to the Mumbai Indians in Kolkata, Chennai Super Kings had to play the Royal Challengers Bangalore yet again in the first playoff match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai two days later.

The match seemed to be going away from the clutches of Chennai, as they stuttered in the run chase of 176 in 20 overs. But in a span of 18 balls, 51 runs were scored and this was a miraculous comeback from the team as some of the runs came off the bowling of the Bangalore captain Daniel Vettori. Suresh Raina and Albie Morkel stayed till the last over to ensure that the chase was a successful one as Raina deservingly won the man of the match award for his unbeaten 73 off just 50 balls. This was one of the most astonishing run chases in the history of the IPL.

That win assured the team a place in the final to be held in Chennai incidentally, and after the remaining playoff matches, it was yet again the Royal Challengers Bangalore whom they had to face in order to win the IPL championship. This was yet another one-sided final which saw Chennai dominate right from ball one. The Royal Challengers were never in the game especially after Murali Vijay hit a memorable 52-ball 95 to take Chennai to a total above 200. And Chennai sensed that they had already won the title for the second year in a row when Chris Gayle, the danger man was dismissed by Ravichandran Ashwin in the first over of the Bangalore innings.

A comprehensive 58-run victory capped off yet another remarkable season for MS Dhoni, who was also the captain in India’s World Cup winning campaign. Michael Hussey ended as the highest run getter that season, not to mention that altogether it was a thorough team performance which won them the title yet again.

Chennai Super Kings in the Champions League T20 2011

After their second IPL title, Chennai were entitled to qualify for the Champions League T20 in September 2011 in India directly and they represented India alongside the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai Indians and the Kolkata Knight Riders. The Super Kings were grouped alongside the Mumbai Indians, South Africa’s Cape Cobras, West Indies’ numero uno team Trinidad and Tobago and Australia’s New South Wales.

Since all their group matches were to be played at home and the final as well was scheduled to be there itself, the MS Dhoni-led team came in as one of the favourites to win and defend their Champions League title as well successfully. In the first match against an injury-hit Mumbai Indians side, they were pretty much winning the game courtesy Michael Hussey’s painstaking fifty. This was only until the 15th over when captain Harbhajan Singh and Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga went after the Chennai bowling attack and dramatically won Mumbai the game by 3 wickets with one ball to spare. That unbelievable onslaught for sure dented Chennai’s confidence as their 8-match unbeaten streak at the Chidambaram Stadium came to an end.

They pulled things back in their favour to an extent with another match which went down to the last over, only this time Chennai Super Kings won by 4 wickets against the Cape Cobras where Dwayne Bravo was the hero for the team with his all-round performance of 2/23 in 4 overs and an unbeaten 46 off 25 balls batting as low as No.6.

But they were stunned in the next match by Trinidad and Tobago as they lost by 12 runs. The Super Kings were able to restrict them to a mere 123 in 20 overs but off-spinner Sunil Narine bowled a spectacular spell of 4 overs, picking up 3 wickets for 8 runs to strangle Chennai completely. Kevon Cooper’s blitzkrieg innings towards the end might have made some difference to the result.

It was make or break for the Chennai Super Kings but MS Dhoni was exhausted following a punishing tour of England, and as captain his bad times seem to have begun. In the last group game against the New South Wales, their bowling  attack was hammered severely by opener David Warner who hit a scintillating 69-ball 135 and remained not out till the last ball to guide his team to a massive 201/2 in 20 overs. Chennai were down and out already and could only manage 155 runs as they were bowled out in the 19th over itself.

Chennai surprisingly crashed out of the tournament in the first round itself, with only one win and three losses to their name. They would have to wait for this year’s tournament to win the title again, but for that they will have to finish in the top four of the IPL once again which is likely.

Chennai Super Kings and controversies

Chennai is one of those few teams which have not fallen into any major controversy as such since they rely on their cricket and their big names in the team to do the talking as far as consistent branding exercises are concerned.

Yet, the team has always been under some scrutiny since some believe that their title victories in the IPL have not been fair so far. It is because N Srinivasan, who was once the BCCI secretary, is now its President and so has a conflict of interest. Since he is likely to favour Chennai Super Kings in making decisions relating to the IPL, he has even appeared in the Supreme Court recently regarding this issue.

Lalit Modi recently hit out at Srinivasan for ‘arm-twisting’ the sale of England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff in the IPL 2009 auction as Srinivasan was said to have forced Modi in persuading the Rajasthan Royals not to purchase him that season. The former IPL commissioner’s claims might be true since many also believe that the 2011 IPL auction could have also been rigged since it is impossible that the other 9 franchises might not have been interesting in buying the likes of R Ashwin, S Badrinath or Michael Hussey for that matter.

Come 2012 and Ravindra Jadeja was the only player bought in the auction, making him the most expensive player of the season. He was said to have been bought for as much as $USD 6 million by the Super Kings according to media reports and the team bid so much for him that it was impossible for the Deccan Chargers to purchase him. The apparent reason is that Jadeja would only get $USD 2 million, while the rest of the money will go in the BCCI coffers and the coffers are indirectly in the supervision of Srinivasan, who is also the Chennai team’s principal owner which makes it a clever game of funds played by him just so that they can somehow get Jadeja in the team.

Interesting facts about Chennai Super Kings

1)    Chennai Super Kings is the only team to have made it to the semifinals of all the four seasons of the IPL.

2)    Chennai Super Kings has had the highest brand value amongst all teams as of the year 2011, according to the statistics of a brand valuation company.

3)    MS Dhoni was the most expensive player in the first season of the IPL.

4)    Andrew Flintoff was bought by the Chennai Super Kings in the second season, and was the most expensive player in the tournament that season alongside his English teammate Kevin Pietersen of the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

5)    MS Dhoni is the first and the only Indian captain so far to have won an IPL tournament.

6)    Dhoni is also the eighth highest run getter in the history of the IPL, with 1425 runs in 59 matches at a strike rate of 138.61, with his highest score being 70 not out.

7)    MS Dhoni is the only captain in club cricket across the world to have achieved the grand double of winning the IPL and the Champions League in the same year, i.e. 2010.

8)    Dhoni incidentally hit a six off fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara over long on to win the World Cup for India in 2011, and Kulasekara is also a part of the Chennai Super Kings roster.

9)    MS Dhoni has the second highest brand endorsements by any Indian as of 2011, with 20 of them to his name. Shahrukh Khan is slightly ahead of him, with 21 of them in his kitty.

10) Suresh Raina is the highest run getter of all time in the Indian Premier League with 1813 runs in 62 matches, at a strike rate of 140.32 with his highest score being 98.

11) Suresh Raina is the only Indian to have scored a century in all three formats in international cricket.

12) The leading wicket-taker for the Chennai Super Kings is South African all-rounder Albie Morkel, with 56 wickets in 54 matches and he is also the eighth highest wicket-taker of all bowlers in the history of the IPL.

13) Chennai is also one of the few IPL teams to have more than four players in their squad till date, which played in the first three seasons as well.

14) George Bailey is the second captain in the history of the game to have been named captain of the Australian T20 team without having played a single international match in the past. This record was created in the recent T20 international against India at the Stadium Australia in Sydney.

15) George Bailey and Ben Hilfenhaus play for Tasmania in Sheffield Shield Cricket in Australia.

16) Ravindra Jadeja is the most valued Chennai Super Kings player, overtaking MS Dhoni as he was contracted for more than $ USD 2 million in this year’s auction.

17) Dwayne Bravo is the only player in the IPL who has been a part of a team which has made the finals of a season and also a part of another team that has won the championship.

18) Chennai Super Kings is the first team to win an IPL final at their home ground.

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