Monday, 2 April 2012

Chennai Super Kings and the Successive IPL

Chennai Super Kings have been the most consistent and successful team in the league so far, which was and is leading by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, most successive captain around the world cricket, and are the most settled side as well, after retaining most of their squad in last year's shuffle.

Chennai Super Kings' record across the first four seasons of the IPL was Runners-up(IPL 1), semi-finalists(IPL 2), champions(IPL 3), champions(IPL 4), the CSK lions are now looking to grab another huge victory to the side's this year season.

CSK not only king in IPL, but also one of the most greatest team all around the world in limited format cricket. Chennai have won the Champions League Trophy last year.

That they have a settled line-up was reflected in the 2012 auction, when they were willing to spend their entire purse on a single acquisition: Ravindra Jadeja. They were involved in a fierce bidding war for Jadeja with Deccan Chargers, and eventually beat them in the tie-breaker. Even so, Super Kings cannot afford any complacency and coach Stephen Fleming knows it. "There is a fine line between finishing first or indeed missing out on the finals," he said in an interview on the franchise's website. They have tread that line on several occasions - in 2008 and 2010 Super Kings faced a must-win situation in their last league game to make the semis, while last year they almost complicated things for themselves by delaying their launch till the very last moment in a stiff chase in the play-off against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

In 2011 the batting was typically solid, with MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Michael Hussey, S Badrinath and M Vijay all aggregating in the vicinity of 400 runs. R Ashwin, expectedly, led the team's bowling charts with 20 wickets at 19.40 apiece. If Super Kings have a weakness, though, it is on the fast-bowling front. Their opponents have often got off to fliers against the quicks, before Dhoni has applied the squeeze and invariably turned the match with the spinners. On that count, they will be happy to have the services of Australia's Ben Hilfenhaus this time around. When he arrives from the West Indies, he should form a solid partnership with Doug Bollinger, Super Kings' pace spearhead over the last two seasons.

Off the field, Super Kings have been at the centre of several controversial issues - including a possible conflict of interest with BCCI president N Srinivasan also managing India Cements, the owners of Super Kings - but their on-field performance has been strong enough to steal the headlines and deflect negative publicity.

The Dhoni-Raina combine: 

For Super Kings, when it comes to key performers, it's hard to look beyond MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina. The pair has formed the backbone of the team since the inaugural IPL, with Raina not missing a single match across seasons and captain Dhoni missing just three of Super Kings' 62 games. Dhoni, with an average touching 40, has scored 1425 runs, while Raina is the leading run-getter in the IPL's short history with 1813 at 36.26. Add to that Raina's tidy offspin and electric fielding, and Dhoni's tactical nous on tweaker-friendly tracks, and you know why Chennai paid big bucks to retain them last season.

All round Dwayne Bravo: 

Super Kings have a preference for allrounders. The squad is always packed with them, one being Bravo, who Super Kings signed last year. Coming off a long break due to an ankle injury, Bravo was picked in the West Indies squad for the limited-overs games against Australia earlier this month, and took up new-ball duty in the ODIs. If he could do the same, effectively, for Super Kings, it would add better balance to the side. That, plus a few timely cameos down the order, and he could push Albie Morkel for the No. 1 allrounder's spot in the XI.

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