Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Indian Premier League (IPL), is a match made in the heaven. Who would have thought that even a two-year absence would not stop themselves from hitting the ground running?
Before the start of the lucrative tournament, there were apprehensions all around over how would they fare in their comeback season. However, it did not take them long to prove their credentials. They did not look at their dominating best but just did enough to progress from the group stage.
In the first Qualifier, they beat Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) to become the first team to enter the final. The upcoming game will be the seventh time the Super Kings will be playing the title-decider in just nine seasons.
So as, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side is gearing up for the all-important clash, Sportzwiki takes a look at how they made it to the final:
Match 1: vs Mumbai Indians – won by one wicket:
The Super Kings were up against the defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) in the very first game. And they could not have asked for a better start to the season as they sealed a one-wicket thriller.
Chasing 166, they lost wickets at regular intervals. The game looked all but over when they were eight wickets down for 118.
However, Dwayne Bravo went berserk from thereon, hitting seven sixes and three fours before he was ninth out at 159. Kedar Jadhav, who was retired hurt earlier in the innings, then held his nerve to take his side home.
Match 2: vs Kolkata Knight Riders – won by 5 wickets:
It was yet another thrilling win for the Super Kings. The target this time was a massive 203 after Andre Russell smashed 88 not out off 36 balls, hitting 11 sixes.
Shane Watson (42 off 19) and Ambati Rayudu (39 off 26) gave the Super Kings a flying start. However, the Knight Riders managed to get some quick wickets and stepped the flow of runs.
At one stage, it looked like the Knight Riders would register a comfortable win.
But, Sam Billings’ 23-ball 56 run knock put the Super Kings in contention. With 17 needed in the final over, Ravindra Jadeja and Bravo struck sixes to complete a superb chase.
Match 3: vs Kings XI Punjab – lost by 4 runs:
The Super Kings’ winning run was snapped up by Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). Chasing 198, the Super Kings came agonizingly close to pulling off a stunning win but eventually fell short by four runs.
Dhoni had starred with the bat for the Super Kings, scoring 79 not out off 44 balls to keep his side in the hunt.
Match 4: Rajasthan Royals – won by 64 runs:
The Super Kings quickly bounced back from the defeat with a thumping 64-run win over Rajasthan Royals (RR).
Sent in to bat first, the Super Kings rode on Shane Watson’s stunning century to post a daunting 204 for five in the allotted 20 overs.
In reply, the Royals were all out for a paltry 140. The Royals never looked in contention to chase down the total due to losing wickets at regular intervals.
Match 5: vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – won by 4 runs:
The Super Kings survived a Kane Williamson special to beat Sunrisers by four runs. Sent in to bat first, the Super Kings rode on the fifties from Suresh Raina (54), Ambati Rayudu (79) and a quickfire knock from Dhoni to post 182 for three.
In reply, Hyderabad were on the backfoot after being reduced to 21 for three.
However, Kane Williamson’s 84-run knock helped them claw their way back. Yusuf Pathan played a quickfire knock of 45 but could not avoid a narrow 4-run defeat for his team.
Match 6: vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – won by 5 wickets:
The Super Kings continued their stunning run in their comeback season with an emphatic five-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Chasing a mammoth 206, Super Kings were reeling at 74 for four in the 13th over.
However, an unbeaten 101-run stand between Dhoni and Rayudu revived the chase. The equation was down to 16 off last over and Dhoni sealed the game with a six on the fourth ball.
Match 7: vs Mumbai Indians – lost by 8 wickets:
The Super Kings suffered their second defeat of the season against Mumbai.
Rohit Sharma’s decision to bowl first was justified by his bowlers as they restricted the in-form batting lineup of Super Kings to 169 for five.
In reply, Rohit led from the front, scoring an unbeaten 56 – to take his team home with two balls remaining.
Match 8: vs Delhi Daredevils – won by 13 runs:
Once again, the Super Kings did not take long to come back to winning ways as they beat Delhi Daredevils (DD) by 13 runs. The fifties from Shane Watson (78 off 40) and Dhoni (51* off 22) helped the Super Kings post a mammoth 211 for 4.
In reply, Daredevils were off to a shaky start and were reduced to 74 for four. Rishabh Pant and Vijay Shankar then scored quick fifties to revive the chase.
However, it was not enough as Delhi were restricted to 198 for five.
Match 9: vs Kolkata Knight Riders – lost by 6 wickets:
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) decimated the Super Kings by six wickets. Dinesh Karthik’s decision to bowl first backfired initially as Super Kings were off to a flying start.
At 91 for one in the eleventh over, the MS Dhoni-led side were looking set to post a huge score. However, Knight Riders took some quick wickets to stem the flow of runs.
In the end, Dhoni played a fine knock of 43 to help his side finish on a competitive 177 for five.
In reply, Knight Riders chased down the score with utmost ease in the 18th over. Shubman Gill starred with the bat, scoring his maiden IPL fifty to guide his team to a crucial one.
The youngster remained unbeaten on 57 and was well supported by Karthik (45 not out). The duo shared an unbeaten partnership of 83 runs – to take their team home comfortably.
Match 10: vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – won by 6 wickets:
Ravindra Jadeja’s three for 18 helped the Super Kings restrict the Royal Challengers for a modest 127 for nine.
Eventually, the cameos from Rayudu (25-ball 32), Raina (21-ball 25) and captain Dhoni’s 23-ball 31 then took the two-time IPL champions home comfortably.
Match 11: vs Rajasthan Royals – lost by 4 wickets:
The Super Kings’ inconsistent run in the second half continued as the Rajasthan Royals (RR) beat them by four wickets.
Batting first, the Super Kings rode on Suresh Raina’s fifty to post a challenging 176 for four.
In reply, the Royals chased down the total with just one ball remaining. Jos Buttler starred with the bat scoring 95 not out including the required 12 runs in the final over to guide Royals home in the must-win clash.
Match 12: vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – won by 8 wickets:
The Super Kings stormed back to winning ways with a thumping eight-wicket win over table-toppers Sunrisers.
Rayudu was the star of the show, scoring an unbeaten century to help the Super Kings chase down a 180-run target with an over remaining.
Shane Watson also played a big part in the win, scoring 57 and adding 134 runs with Rayudu for the first wicket.
Match 13: vs Delhi Daredevils – lost by 34 runs:
Asked to bat first, the Daredevils posted 162 for five. At one stage, they found themselves reeling at 97 for five.
At that time, the 150-run mark looked like a distant dream. However, they managed to cross the 150-run mark only because of Vijay Shankar and Harshal Patel’s unbeaten knocks. The duo stitched an unbeaten stand of 65 runs to help the Daredevils post a respectable total.
Shankar scored 36 off 28 balls while Patel scored as many off just 16 balls.
In reply, the Super Kings never looked at ease during the chase as the required-rate kept on mounting. Rayudu scored a fifty to lay the foundation but it eventually went in vain as the Super Kings were restricted to 128 for six.
Match 14: vs Kings XI Punjab – won by 5 wickets:
The Super Kings finished the league stage with an impressive five wickets victory over Kings XI. Fantastic bowling from Lungi Ngidi helped Super Kings bowl out the opposition for 153.
In reply, the Super Kings chased down the total with two balls to spare. Raina scored 61 not out off 48 before Dhoni sealed the game with a trademark six.
Qualifier 1: vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – won by two wickets:
The Super Kings stormed into the final with a stunning two-wicket win over Sunrisers in the first Qualifier at iconic Wankhede.
Well, it looked like a lost battle for the Super Kings after they were reduced to 57 for five and later 113 for eight in the 18th over in pursuit of 140.
However, Faf du Plessis remained till the end, scoring an unbeaten 67 to take Chennai Super Kings home with five balls remaining.