MS Dhoni has led Chennai Super Kings to the play-offs
MS Dhoni has led Chennai Super Kings to the play-offs Image Credit: IPL

Dubai: A top Chennai Super Kings official says the team are confident of winning the first Qualifier against Delhi at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday, despite the team suffering three consecutive losses in the final stages of the group stage and two at the hands of the Capitals in the Indian Premier League Season 14.

“Victory and loss are part of any team as all the teams in the competition are capable of beating the other, but we are confident of winning the Qualifier against Delhi Capitals,” Kasi Viswanathan, CEO of Chennai Super Kings told Gulf News in an exclusive interview. “As our captain [Mahendra Singh Dhoni] always says, we are a process-driven team and the results will follow.”

It’s been an impressive turnaround for the Yellow Lions, who had their worst season last time around when it was held in the UAE. After finishing seventh in Season 13, CSK booked their playoff spot well before the end of the league phase.

One of the key factors for the Super Kings’ march is the contribution of the openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis. Young Gaikwad, who had a difficult start to his IPL career, repayed the faith in him in the latter half of last season. His fighting knock against defending champions Mumbai Indians in the opener of the UAE leg in Abu Dhabi kick-started a ruthless march by the Yellove.

Du Plessis and Gaikwad are in the second and fourth spots in the top-scorers chart for the Orange Cap, amassing 546 and 533 runs respectively in a total of 2,368 runs Chennai scored this season — their contribution translating to around 45.50 per cent.

“Last season was one of the rare years where we did not do well last time around, we are very happy to what we have achieved so far and we have full confidence in the team,” added Viswanathan.

One main worry for the Super Kings is the lack of form of the teams’ dependable warrior Suresh Raina, who is hailed as the Chinna Thala (deputy head) by the Whistle Podu fans. Adding to the left-hander’s muted performance, Raina also suffered a knee niggle and was ruled out of the last three games in the league phase. His return will be big boost to the Super Kings as it would lend stability to the middle-order.

Talking about Raina’s return, Viswanathan said: “We have still not made a decision. The team physio will assess him in the morning and based on that we will decide.”

With ‘Captain Cool’ Dhoni at the helm of affairs, Super Kings have achieved a near-impossible task en route to the title, so it should be no different for the three-time champions in Sunday’s clash.