The spotlight was on them when it began and it remained firmly on them when it ended. Ridiculed as the ‘retirement home’, Chennai Super Kings answered their doubters by being the story of the last edition.
On paper, it appeared CSK had lost the plot at the auction by picking players who were nearly past their sell-by date, at least in the shortest format. But Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led a side that reflected great unity and played fearless cricket as CSK clinched their third title.
Time and again, CSK have proved they cannot be taken lightly. Apart from their three titles, their four runners-up finishes reflect their strong presence in the league.
The fact they put their controversial past behind them in their comeback season makes them more dangerous this year as they get down to business with hardly any changes in the squad.
CSK is blessed with proven all-rounders. Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Kedar Jadhav and Shane Watson are players with a fine pedigree, having won matches singlehandedly. Dhoni has a variety of bowlers to go to. The likes Deepak Chahar and Mitchell Santner are hard to score off.
CSK’s batsmen are struggling for form. The trio of Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Murali Vijay might have many memories of winning matches for the side. But the three pillars of CSK batting need to find form soon to fix the cracks.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Imran Tahir, Sam Billings, David Willey, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Murali Vijay, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Narayan Jagadeesan, Suresh Raina, KM Asif, Shardul Thakur, Dhurv Shorey, Mohit Sharma, Faf du Plessis, Monu Kumar, Dwayne Bravo, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Karn Sharma Lungi Ngidi, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Mitchell Santner.