Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)

For the first time in the history of IPL, Chennai Super Kings, the most consistent team in the tournament, did not qualify for the playoffs in the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League. Out of 14 matches, they managed to win 6 games and as a result of that, CSK finished at the seventh position on the points table.

Despite that, Chennai Super Kings didn’t make a lot of changes in their squad for the IPL 2021. They picked a few players in the auctions to rectify some of the loopholes. The Cricket pundits gave them little chance of making a strong comeback in IPL 2021 and predicted a much similar result as last year.

However, the Yellow Army defied all odds and came out all guns blazing. They made slight changes in the playing XI and it worked wonders for them. Consistent performances helped them become the first side to reach the final of this year’s edition. CSK are slated to play against KKR in the IPL 2021 final on Friday at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. On that note, we take a look at the Chennai Super Kings’ journey of reaching the IPL 2021 final.

IPL 2021 Final- CSK vs KKR: CSK's Road To The Final

IPL 2021 Final- CSK vs KKR: CSK’s Road To The Final

A seven-wicket defeat followed by 5 wins in a row- CSK off to a flyer

Moeen Ali and Ambati Rayudu
Image Source: Twitter

Chennai Super Kings didn’t start the tournament on a winning note. Despite posting a 188-run target, CSK lost the game by 7 wickets as Delhi Capitals chased down the score in 18.4 overs. The defeat brought back the memories of CSK’s underwhelming performances last year. However, what followed was five wins in a row.

Chennai Super Kings replaced Suresh Raina with Moeen Ali at number three. It took everyone by surprise but it proved to be the masterstroke. Moeen Ali capitalized on the starts provided by the openers wonderfully and ensured CSK’s scoring run doesn’t fall in the middle overs. Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis provided consistent starts as the top three made the bulk of the scoring for the franchise.

Raina batted at fourth position, while Rayudu came at five. Rayudu and Jadeja made vital contributions down the order and ensured CSK finish their innings well. The 19th match between RCB and CSK saw Ravindra Jadeja playing a sensational 38-ball 62-run knock, propelling the side to a 191-run total in the first innings. He then picked three wickets for just 13 runs in four overs. His all-round contribution helped the side register the fourth consecutive win.

With the ball, Deepak Chahar picked wickets consistently, while Curran and Bravo made decent contributions.

CSK finish the first half of IPL 2021 at the second position with 5 wins in 7 matches

Image Source: Twitter

Mumbai Indians broke CSK’s five-match winning streak after chasing a mammoth 218-runt total on the final ball of the over, thanks to an outstanding 34-ball 87 from Kieron Pollard. Earlier, Faf du Plessis and Moeen Ali scored respective half-centuries, while Rayudu later played a sensational 72-run knock off 27 balls.

All those contributions went in vain as MI chased down the score in the end. Nevertheless, Chennai Super Kings finished at the second position after the first half of the tournament, managing 5 wins in 7 matches.

Faf Du Plessis finished as their leading run-getter with 320 runs in 7 matches, while Deepak Chahar led the wicket charts with the ball.

The Yellow Army continued its dominance in UAE

Ruturaj Gaikwad of CSK. Photo- CSK Twitter
Ruturaj Gaikwad of CSK. Photo- CSK Twitter

Ahead of the second leg of the tournament in UAE, there were question marks over CSK’s consistent run in UAE. Chennai struggled on similar tracks last year and the fans feared that the memories might come back to haunt them in IPL 2021 as well.

Much to the delight, CSK continued their dominance in the second leg, exhibiting consistent performances with both bat and ball. Ruturaj Gaikwad made the headlines with scintillating performances at the top of the order. His partner, Faf du Plessis also made useful contributions. Their best bet, Deepak Chahar has looked out of sorts, but the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur and Josh Hazlewood made great returns.

Chennai won four consecutive games but ended the league stage with three losses in a row. Despite that, they finished at the second position on the points table and thereby secured their playoffs berth.

MS Dhoni’s last over finish in the Qualifier 1 took CSK to IPL 2021 final

MS Dhoni
Image Source: Twitter

Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals played against each other in Qualifier 1 on Sunday. Barring Josh Hazlewood, none of the bowlers looked effective as Delhi Capitals posted 172 on a good batting surface in Dubai.

In pursuit of the total, Ruturaj Gaikwad played yet another outstanding 70 off 50 balls. Robin Uthappa was sent in at number three and it paid off as he blazed his way to a 44-ball 63. Despite those contributions, CSK stutter at the fag end of the innings.

However, MS Dhoni’s three fours in the final over helped the team chase down the score to confirm their place in the finals.