Late on Friday, Chennai Super Kings were the first Indian Premier League franchise to land in Dubai to see out the 31 matches which were suspended in the beginning of May this year when players tested positive for coronavirus back in India and the wise decision was taken by BCCI to suspend the competition in the interest and well-being of all players.
CSK were placed second with 10 points in the standings when things came to a halt, with five wins and two losses with their net run rate of 1.263 the best in the IPL.
After a disappointing time last year in UAE during the 12th edition of the lucrative franchise league, where they failed to qualify for the plays-off for the first time, CSK started well this time around and looked like one of the teams to beat, as all their players looked in good form. The addition of Moeen Ali in their squad gave CSK the right balance and impetuous which was lacking last year. Moreover the start provided by their openers Faf du Plessis and Rituraj Gaikwad was also very instrumental getting off to a great start in most of their games which the team had missed in the last edition. Moreover all their bowlers — be it pace or spin — were on the money, especially Deepak Chahar and Ravindra Jadeja.
They start their campaign in Dubai on September 19 with a mouthwatering contest against arch-rivals Mumbai Indians. The last time they met in the first leg of the tournament was a high-scoring humdinger where Kieran Pollard pulled off an amazing win for Mumbai, chasing 218.
On a one-to-one chat with Michael Hussey, the batting coach of CSK, I had asked him what separates them from the rest. He candidly claimed that CSK are like a family and everyone in the team from the players to the support staff are treated in the same way. He has fond memories of CSK winning two back-to-back titles when they beat first Mumbai in 2010 and then Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2011. CSK surprised everyone in 2018 when they won their third title, beating Sunrisers Hyderabad when in that year they were called ‘Dad’s Army’, under MS Dhoni.
All eyes with be once again on their cool captain MS Dhoni, who will be itching to take CSK to their fourth title and prove that last year’s IPL in the UAE was a blip.
Every franchise is popular in the IPL but CSK are a team that are loved by fans around the world because of one nan — India’s hero and legend, Mahendra Singh Dhoni