Love them or hate them, but the Chennai Super Kings have been the epitome of consistency across the eight seasons of the Indian T20 League. We know what they’re capable of, which makes it even more difficult for us non-CSK fans. This year as well, MS Dhoni’s yellow brigade is back to claim the title they once dominated and they sure appear to be on the right track so far. So what makes them the favorites to win the Indian T20 League this year? Let’s find out.
Here are 8 reasons why CSK might once again get their hands on the coveted trophy:-
We’ve seen some extreme chopping and changing in teams nearly every time there’s an auction. In a bid to add variety, franchises often tend to go overboard with mind-boggling purchases that completely defy logic. With CSK, there’s hardly a problem with the foundation. Their core group of MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja has stayed constant despite all the hullabaloo around. Not only does it build a healthy camaraderie, but it also ensures that the new guys have the right seasoned players to look up to.
Depth in squad
Much has been said about the depth in CSK’s squad and how they make the best use of it when required. The Super Kings are loaded with a bench strength of enormous talent, waiting for a chance to go out and perform. With players like Samuel Badree, Kyle Abbott, Matt Henry, Irfan Pathan on the sidelines, CSK is well-equipped for any situation. You can imagine the state of things if a Michael Hussey can’t find a place in the Playing XI!
Faf du Plessis’ sensational one-handed catch against RCB is the latest example of CSK’s improved excellence in the field. Imagine an off side ring that consists of Raina, Faf, McCullum, Jadeja. How hard would it be to get past some of the best fielders in world cricket? And it’s not just inside the circle. We have seen some unbelievable relay catches at the boundary over the years, thanks to the Super Kings and their brilliant fielding.
Clinical pace bowling
Well, oh well. Tis the season of Ashish Nehra! Who would have imagined a struggling Nehra spearheading any bowling attack in the Indian T20 League? Especially after being out of international reckoning for the last four years. This year, Nehra is on a roll, surprising batsmen with his terrific yorkers and stump-to-stump bowling. Add to it, the support from Mohit Sharma and Ishwar Pandey and the CSK pace attacks looks formidable. Not to forget, R Ashwin’s spin that often does the trick.
Mumbai Indians have made innumerable changes to their coaching staff in the last few years, but that has only added to their misery. On the contrary, CSK have been patient with Stephen Fleming (Head coach), Andy Bichel (Bowling coach) and Steve Rixon (Fielding coach). And why not? They’re the people behind CSK’s success in the past. Having the same support staff every year only builds a stronger rapport between players and coaches. It reflects on the team’s performances in the field.
What if Dwayne Smith is castled on the first ball? What if Baz fails to get going? Fret not, for we have an array of batsmen who will rise to the occasion. Unlike other teams, the Super Kings do not depend on a certain star batsman. Standing tall in that middle order is the charming Suresh Raina, whose willow does the talking as soon as the top order collapses. And what if Raina fails? Here’s the skipper who leads from the front and loves a platform! Oh, and did we forget the West Indian entertainer?
How can we not talk about MS Dhoni when we talk about the Chennai Super Kings? MSD has been the cool, calculative mind responsible for bailing CSK out of trouble more often than not. Even if he has a bad day with the bat, his sharp thinking and presence of mind in the field makes up for it. Plus, that lightning fast glove work behind the stumps is an art he has mastered like none other.
The Chennai Super Kings are like the Australia of world cricket. They never give up, they play with controlled aggression and winning is a habit they have developed over the years. But isn’t it surprising that Indian T20 League’s most consistent team last held the trophy in 2011? It’s true. In the 7 seasons so far, CSK only won twice and narrowly missed out on a hat-trick in 2012. But, they’re also the team with the most semi-final and final appearances, which explains their consistency in the tournament. So after three years of no-show, the Super Kings are a bunch of hungry cricketers looking for that third win. Who’s going to stop them?