Super Kings eye another crown
Two-time champions will look to extend their superb run under the leadership of Dhoni.
Chennai Super Kings are easily the most decorated IPL franchise – two title victories in four final appearances and a Champions League title topping that amazing run. No one has come even remotely close to their success rate, and such a sequence can’t just be a fluke.
Right from the inaugural auction held in 2008, Super Kings have exerted great care in selecting their personnel, and they are, perhaps, the only team that hasn’t gone through major structural changes over the five seasons of the IPL.
Since the opening season, their key members remain skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina, R Ashwin, Mike Hussey, M Vijay, and Albie Morkel. This season won’t be an exception, as the Super Kings will be hoping for major contributions from the aforementioned players in their quest to regain the title.
Even players like Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo and Ben Hilfenhaus, who joined them at various stages of the IPL, have blended into the Super Kings environment with ease, making it a tightly knit unit. That unity is one of the main reasons behind them emerging the most successful outfit in the IPL, and they are strong contenders to win the title this season.
Many of their key players have found their range at the right time. Dhoni was at his best as a captain in the series against Australia, while the batsman in him found the second wind while hammering a counter-attacking double hundred at Chepauk against the Aussies.
There was a lot of pressure on Ashwin and Vijay prior to the series against Michael Clarke’s men. But both of them came out of it in impressive style – Ashwin took 29 wickets to become the top wicket-taker and Vijay made 430 runs to top the chart for batsmen.
Raina might have lost his spot in the Test squad after the series against New Zealand, but the Uttar Pradesh left-hander has been good touch in the one-dayers, and his form will be crucial in the middle-order along with Jadeja. In Raina, Jadeja and Bravo, Chennai also have three wonderful fielders who can patrol any area of the ground. Chennai also have the likes of Faf du Plessis Dirk Nannes, S Badrinath and Shadab Jakati in their ranks to fall back upon, and it will take some effort to halt them as they target another title.