It has been nothing short of a dream comeback for Chennai Super Kings on the IPL horizon. After missing two seasons due to the ban, CSK just proved why they are the best in the business, when it comes to making it to the final of the tournament. Right through the league stages they were the team to beat, and finished just behind Sunrisers Hyderabad in the group stages.
This year has seen Dhoni 2.0, where he has led from the front and scored 455 runs in 15 matches. Once again, CSK will be the favourites to win the title going into Sunday’s final against SRH at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.
Cricketnext takes a look at CSK’s journey to IPL final:
Match 1, Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings (Won by 1 wicket)
Coming back in the tournament after a two year hiatus, CSK started things off with a narrow 1-wicket win over Mumbai Indians. Chasing 166, CSK got home only on the last ball of the match. At one stage Dhoni’s boys were lingering at 118/8, but Dwyane Bravo held his nerve and scored 68 from 30 balls to take his team to a victory. Jadhav, who got injured in the match, returned to score the winning runs.
Match 2, Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders (Won by 5 wickets)
In a high-scoring match KKR powered their way through 202/6 in their 20 overs. Andre Russell came up with a blistering knock of 88 from 36 balls. His innings included 11 sixes and a four. But CSK started the chase brilliantly with Watson scoring 42 from 19 and Ambati Rayudu 39 from 26. Sam Billings ended the match with a whirlwind 56.
Match 3, Kings XI Punjab vs Chennai Super Kings (Lost by 4 runs)
Punjab openers KL Rahul and Chris Gayle provided a solid start and strung a partnership of 96 runs. That effort from these two took KXIP to 197 runs in their 20 overs. In reply, CSK fell four runs short. MSD top-scored 79 runs from 44 balls. His innings included five sixes and six boundaries.
Match 4, Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals (Won by 64 runs)
Chennai’s Shane Watson produced a magical innings of 106 from 57 balls against his former team. Suresh Raina too made a quickfire 46 to take CSK to 204/5. In reply, Rajasthan could only score 140 and lost the match by a massive 64 runs. Except for Ben Stokes (45), none of the other batsmen could score freely. Shardul Thakur bagged 2/18.
Match 5, Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Chennai Super Kings (Won by 4 runs)
In a thrilling encounter, CSK emerged victorious against Hyderabad by just 4 runs. Riding on Rayudu’s 79, Chennai scored 182. Hyderabad’s Williamson (84) did his best to win the match, but in the end it proved too much too chase, for his side. In the match, CSK’s Deepak Chahar bowled 17 dots.
Match 6, Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Chennai Super Kings (Won by 5 wickets)
Bangalore made a great start to the match as Quinton de Kock and AB de Villiers scored fifties on a good Chinnaswamy wicket. RCB set a target of 206 to CSK. Their chase was guided by Rayudu’s 82 and Dhoni’s 70. MSD struck 7 sixes in his innings to take the match away from Bangalore.
Match 7, Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians (Lost by 8 wickets)
Chennai batted first and posted 169 runs on the board courtesy Suresh Raina’s 47-ball 75. Mumbai’s Mitchell McClenaghan did well to stop the run flow and returned with match figures of 2/26. Then the batsmen completed the job for MI. Rohit Sharma was the star with the bat as he made 56 from 33 balls, batting at no. 3.
Match 8, Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Daredevils (Won by 13 runs)
It was again an easy win for Chennai. Dhoni produced another special innings and scored 51 runs in just 22 balls. His innings consisted of 5 sixes and 2 fours. That took CSK’s total to 211. In the chase, Rishabh Pant (79) and Vijay Shankar (54) did their best but could manage only 198.
Match 9, Kolkata Knight Riders vs Chennai Super Kings (Lost by 6 wickets)
A rare failure for Chennai unit, Kolkata registered a comfortable victory. KKR were set a target of 178 and they achieved it in 17.4 overs. Dhoni came up with a fiery 43 for CSK. In this match Shubman Gill came to the fore with 57 from 36 balls. Dinesh Karthik finished things off with 18-ball 45.
Match 10, Chennai Super Kings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (Won by 6 wickets)
In this match Ravindra Jadeja finally came good for CSK. He bagged 3/18 in his 4 overs and helped restrict RCB to 127. Parthiv Patel scored 53 for his team. In the end it was an easy chase for CSK, as they reached the target in 18 overs. Ambati Rayudu made 32 runs.
Match 11, Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals (Lost by 4 wickets)
This was a shocker of a loss for Chennai. An unassuming Rajasthan chased down the target of 177 runs on the penultimate ball of the match. The match will be remembered for Jos Buttler’s 95 from 60 balls. David Willey gave away 47 runs in his four overs.
Match 12, Chennai Super Kings vs Sunrisers Hyderabad (Won by 8 wickets)
Chennai Super Kings suffered a blip in their form and needed to get back to winning ways. Sunrisers Hyderabad batted first and rode on a brilliant knock by Shikhar Dhawan to set a target of 180. CSK with a top heavy batting took the game away early on in the chase itself. An unbeaten ton by Ambati Rayudu helped the two-time champions wrap things up by 8 wickets.
Match 13, Delhi Daredevils vs Chennai Super Kings (Lost by 34 runs)
Buoyed by their previous win, CSK were expected to roll over the bottom placed side Delhi with relative ease, but the hosts had other ideas. After setting CSK a modest target of 163, Delhi’s bowlers effectively put the brakes on the high flying CSK batsmen with young Sandeep Lamichhane and Amit Mishra spinning a web around them. CSK were unable to get their finishing act together with MS Dhoni and fell short by 34 runs at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
Match 14, Chennai Super Kings vs Kings XI Punjab (Won by 5 wickets)
The visiting KXIP had to win by a massive margin against CSK on the final day of the league stage to make it through to the play-offs. But they struggled with the bat and were bowled out for 153, as the young Lungi Ngidi took four wickets. Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni ensured there would be no shocks as they finished things off with relative ease to register a five wicket win the last game of the league stages.
Qualifier 1, Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Chennai Super Kings (Won by 2 wickets)
The business end of the IPL commenced with the best batting line-up taking on the best bowling unit of the competition in Mumbai. CSK’s bowlers, for once turned up the heat after and SRH could only manage 139 in their allotted overs. SRH’s famed bowling almost did the trick once again as CSK’s Faf du Plessis was the only one showing some resistance. Kane Williamson’s men though were outdone by an astonishing cameo from Shardul Thakur at a crucial point in time in the game which saw CSK win by 2 wickets and clinch a spot in the summit clash.
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