Popularly known as Dad's army, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side will head to the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Sunday (May 12) in pursuit of their fourth IPL title. It will not be easy though as the title clash will be against a rampant Mumbai Indians, who have already gotten the better of them thrice this season.
Chennai, like so many time before, have yet again shown their professionalism in the field. They were the first team to qualify for the playoffs and despite a stutter in Qualifier 1 against Mumbai brushed aside Delhi Capitals to make it through to yet another final.
Here we take look at their road to the final.
vs Royal Challengers Bangalore - won by seven wickets
vs Delhi Capitals - won by six wickets
vs Rajasthan Royals - won by eight runs
vs Mumbai Indians - lost by 37 runs
vs Kings XI Punjab - won by 22 runs
vs Kolkata Knight Riders - won by seven wickets
vs Rajasthan Royals - won by four wickets
vs Kolkata Knight Riders - won by five wickets
vs Sunrisers Hyderabad - lost by six wickets
vs Royal Challengers Bangalore - lost by one run
vs Sunrisers Hyderabad - won by six wickets
vs Mumbai Indians - lost by 46 runs
vs Delhi Capitals - won by 80 runs
vs Kings XI Punjab - lost by six wickets
Qualifier 1 - lost to Mumbai Indians by six wickets
Qualifier 2 - defeated Delhi Capitals by six wickets
Hattrick of Wins
Chennai started off with a bang as they skittled Royal Challengers Bangalore for just 70 in the opening game of the season at their home ground of MA Chidambaram Stadium. The spin trio of Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja returned nine wickets to bundle RCB before the hosts got home by seven wickets. Their next game at Feroz Shah Kotla was one where Dwayne Bravo and Shane Watson shone as Chennai got the better of Delhi Capitals by six wickets. The men in yellow went on to make it three out three when Dhoni's 46-ball 75 not out took them to 175/5 in their 20 overs against Rajasthan Royals. An all-round performance by the bowlers then restricted Rajasthan to 167/8.
Mumbai Win Round 1 of EL Clasico
It needed none other than Mumbai to stop the Chennai train when Suryakumar Yadav's 59 followed by Hardik Pandya's cameo helped the hosts pile on 170/5 in their 20 overs. Kedar Jadhav registered a measured half-century but found little support from the other end as Lasith Malinga (3/34) and Hardik (3/20) combined to restrict Chennai to just 133/8. Mumbai won the encounter handsomely by 37 runs.
Chennai Win Four on the Bounce
Chennai's bounce-back ability needs no introduction. Visibly hurt by the loss against Mumbai, Chennai went back to their home ground and presented a performance quite like their abilities against Kings XI Punjab. Faf du Plessis led the way with a 38-ball 54 before Dhoni provided his finishing touches slamming 37 off just 23 balls. KL Rahul (55) and Sarfraz Khan (67) stitched a 110-run partnership for the second wicket but Punjab fell like nine pins post the duo's dismissal to eventually fall short by 22 runs.
They then rolled Kolkata Knight Riders by seven wickets at home before a last-ball six from Mitchell Santner helped Chennai get the better of Rajasthan by four wickets in the next encounter at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, in Jaipur. The match though made headlines largely due to a controversial no-ball call which was later receded that led to Dhoni storming on to the field.
Chennai made it four out of four when Suresh Raina's 42-ball 58 and Jadeja's 17-ball 31 helped their side overhaul a tough 163-run target by five wickets.
Chennai Avoid Hattrick of Defeats
The four back to back wins were followed by two tough losses first versus Sunrisers Hyderabad and then against Bangalore. While Hyderabad's win was setup by Jonny Bairstow and David Warner at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, against Bangalore, Dhoni once again almost pulled a rabbit out of the bag. Needing 26 runs to win off the final over, the 37-year-old smoked three sixes and a four to get Chennai to touching distance but needing two off the final ball missed and the visitors lost by one run.
After two back to back losses, Chennai finally got back to winning ways courtesy Shane Watson who slammed a brilliant 53-ball 96 to help his side nail a tough 176-run chase by six wickets against Hyderabad.
EL Clasico - Round 2
This time at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai's fortress but Mumbai showed no mercy as they trounced the home side by 46 runs. M Vijay scored 38 but there was little support from anyone else as chasing Mumbai's 155/4, the hosts were bundled out for just 109 in 17.4 overs. Mumbai are the only team to consistently breach fort Chepauk and they showed their pedigree yet again.
EL Clasico - Round 3
The third time the two teams met each other, this time in the playoffs and once again Mumbai got the better of Chennai by six wickets. Batting first on a sluggish surface, Chennai could only manage 131/4 in their 20 overs with the help of Ambati Rayudu (42*) and Dhoni (37*). Mumbai never really felt any discomfort in the chase with Suryakumar Yadav slamming 71* in just 54 balls to take his side through to the final.
Qualifier 2 - Chennai Show Their Muscle
On the day it mattered the most, the Chennai superstars showed the way and showed the world how much experience matters. Harbhajan, Jadeja and Bravo all picked two wickets to keep Delhi to 147/9. Watson and du Plessis then scored half-centuries when it mattered the most as Chennai romped home by six wickets to setup another date with Mumbai in the final.
First Published: May 12, 2019, 8:35 AM IST