A sense of skepticism surrounded Dhoni leading the Chennai Super Kings for another title after he had a torrid time with the Indian team during their international season. But here he is now, in yellow with a chance of leading his team, Chennai Super Kings for a third IPL title in a row. How did the season transpire for the defending champs? Zeenews.com’s Vineet Ramakrishnan looks at their 18-match long journey to the final of the fifth edition of IPL.
Apr 4: Lost to Mumbai Indians by 8 wickets (with 19 balls remaining)
The opening match of the season, and Dhoni’s men could only manage a paltry 112 at their home ground against a new look Mumbai Indians led by Harbhajan Singh. Raina showed some fight with a valiant 36, but everyone else failed miserably. Richard Levi’s debut appearance of 50 off 34 balls sealed the match in favour of the visitors.
Chennai Super Kings 112 (19.5/20 overs); Mumbai Indians 115/2 (16.5/20 overs)
Apr 7: Beat Deccan Chargers by 74 runs
Chennai Super Kings’ ‘million dollar’ all rounder Ravindra Jadeja gave CSK their first win of the campaign as his 29-ball 48 and 5/16, the best bowling figures of IPL 5 helped the visitors thrash Deccan Chargers by 74 runs. Faf du Plessis, filling the gap of Michael Hussey also came into his groove that would see him seal his place in the team even after Hussey’s arrival.
Chennai Super Kings 193/6 (20/20 overs); Deccan Chargers 119 (17.1/20 overs)
Apr 10: Lost to Delhi Daredevils by 8 wickets (with 40 balls remaining)
Another batting failure accelerated by four run outs out of the 8 wickets to fall led to Dhoni’s men being beaten emphatically by the in-form Delhi Daredevils. CSK posted just 110, only for Pietersen and Sehwag to blast Morkel and Bollinger to all parts of the ground and reach the target in under 14 overs.
Chennai Super Kings 110/8 (20/20 overs); Delhi Daredevils 111/2 (13.2/20 overs)
Apr 12: Beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 5 wickets
With 43 runs required of 12 balls, Albie Morkel turned the the game on its head blasting Virat Kohli for 28 runs in the 19th over and a last ball four by Jadeja sealed an improbable victory for CSK chasing 205. Faf du Plessis’s 71 (46), Dhoni’s 40 (24) and Morkel`s 28 (7) cancelled out Gaylestorm`s 68 (35), Kohli`s 57 (46) and Mayank Aggarwal`s 45 (26).
Royal Challengers Bangalore 205/8 (20/20 overs); Chennai Super Kings 208/5 (20/20 overs)
Apr 14: Lost to Pune Warriors by 7 wickets
A close win followed a even tighter loss as Pune Warriors India powered by Jessie Ryder`s 56-ball 73 and Steve Smith`s late blitz of 44 runs off 36 balls helped the hosts scrape past CSK in chase of 155. du Plessis again contributed with 43 runs off 33 balls and Jadeja propelled the innings with 26-ball 44 in at the end.
Chennai Super Kings 155/5 (20/20 overs); Pune Warriors 156/3 (19.2/20 overs)
Apr 19: Beat Pune Warriors by 13 runs
In the return leg immediately, CSK registered a win against Pune propelled by a solid opening partnership of 116 runs by du Plessis (58) and Badrinath (57) and later by Nuwan Kulasekara`s tidy spell of 2-0-10-2.
Chennai Super Kings 164/5 (20/20 overs); Pune Warriors 151/7 (20/20 overs)
Apr 21: Beat Rajasthan Royals by 7 wickets
In a low scoring match at home, Chennai held their nerves with Dhoni and Bravo finishing of the proceedings only on the last ball. That man again, Faf du Plessis held the innings together with a crafty 71 off 52 balls in chase of 146. The bowling clicked as a unit for the defending champions.
Rajasthan Royals 146/4 (20/20 overs); Chennai Super Kings 147/3 (20/20 overs)
Apr 25: No result (match abandoned)
After Royal Challengers Bangalore won the toss and elected to field first, rain gods probably started their own game of cricket and points were shared by both the teams.
Apr 28: Lost to Kings XI Punjab won by 7 runs
It was the start of Kings XI Punjab`s resurgence with Mandeep Singh 56 (50) and new British recruit Azhar Mahmood (4-0-25-3) ensuring that CSK do not find their rhythm. Bravo stuck it out in the middle with 26-ball 30 runs but overall it was a day to forget for the champs.
Kings XI Punjab 156/8 (20/20 ov); Chennai Super Kings 149/8 (20/20 ov)
Apr 30: Lost to Kolkata Knight Riders by 5 wickets (with 2 balls remaining)
Last ball four from Debabrata Das sealed the game for KKR after Chennai had struggled to a moderate total of 139. The spinners had a major say in the game with the KKR duo of Abdulla and Narine bowling tight spells. Even Ashwin and Jadeja ensured that KKR would have a tough time with the chase. A plus for CSK was that Raina got back into some kind of a form with a scrappy 34-ball 44 but a crafty 52-ball 63 by Gambhir helped KKR overhaul the target.
Chennai Super Kings 139/5 (20/20 overs); Kolkata Knight Riders 140/5 (19.4/20 overs)
May 4: Beat Deccan Chargers by 10 runs
Cameron White 71(53) finally woke up from his slumber but could not complete the job for his team as CSK won by 10 runs after posting a good total of 160 courtesy du Plessis’ 35-ball 42, Raina`s 24-ball 32 and Dhoni`s 28-ball 34.
Chennai Super Kings 160/6 (20/20 ov); Deccan Chargers 150/5 (20/20 ov)
May 6: Lost to Mumbai Indians by 2 wickets (with 0 balls remaining)
Dwayne Smith did an Albie Morkel as he clubbed Ben Hifenhaus for 16 runs in the last 3 balls to make a grand entry into IPL 2012. Powered by Murali Vijay`s 41, Bravo`s 40 and Raina`s 36, CSK posted 173. Mumbai in reply, propelled by Sachin Tendulkar (74) and Rohit Sharma (60) kept the game on but Smith snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Chennai Super Kings 173/8 (20/20 ov); Mumbai Indians 174/8 (20/20 ov)
May 10: Beat Rajasthan Royals by 4 wickets (with 11 balls remaining)
Another low scoring affair where Ben Hilfenhaus (4-1-8-2) and Yo Mahesh (4-0-21-2) restricted Rajasthan to 126 and CSK knocked off the runs on a tricky pitch with 11 balls remaining.
Rajasthan Royals 126/6 (20/20 ov); Chennai Super Kings 127/6 (18.1/20 ov)
May 12: Beat Delhi Daredevils by 9 wickets (with 28 balls remaining)
This was a crucial victory which kept CSK afloat in the tournament. Ben Hifenhaus wreaked havoc scalping Sehwag, Warner and Ojha first up as Delhi ended with just 114 runs. Hussey (38 off 32b) and Vijay (48 off 40b) made light work of the run chase.
Delhi Daredevils 114/5 (20/20 ov); Chennai Super Kings 115/1 (15.2/20 ov)
May 14: Beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 5 wickets (with 0 balls remaining)
Last ball six by Bravo sealed the humdinger for CSK and with that a very crucial 2 points. More importantly, Dhoni came into his brutal best as CSK chased down 158 in 20 overs. Hussey made a fluent 56 off 39 balls after Gautam Gambhir (62) had guided KKR to a competitive score.
Kolkata Knight Riders 158/6 (20/20 ov); Chennai Super Kings 160/5 (20/20 ov)
May 17: Lost to Kings XI Punjab by 6 wickets (with 21 balls remaining)
In a must win encounter for KXIP, they produced their A game with bowlers leading the charge. At Dharmshala, Praveen Kumar, Harris, Mahmood and Awana displayed immense skill of seam bowling and had CSK in a tricky situation with 120 runs in 20 overs. Gilchrist, coming off a long injury lay off scored 46-bll 62 as KXIP chased down the target with ease. Dhoni`s men slipped fifth on the table with their fate hanging on the results of three other matches.
Chennai Super Kings 120/7 (20/20 ov); Kings XI Punjab 123/4 (16.3/20 ov)
May 23: Beat Mumbai Indians by 38 runs
The eliminator and Dhoni came to the fore with 50 off 21 balls. Mike Hussey (49), Badrinath (47) and Bravo (33 off 14b) ably supported the captain as CSK raced to 187. Mumbai were always under the pump in a pressure situation and good bowling spells by Jakati, Bravo and Morkel sealed CSK`s entry into the second qualifier.
Chennai Super Kings 187/5 (20/20 ov); Mumbai Indians 149/9 (20/20 ov)
May 25: Beat Delhi Daredevils by 86 runs
Like a phoenix rising from its ashes, Chennai Super Kings played like true invincibles blowing away the best tem of the league with a record victory margin of 86 runs and scoring the highest team total of this season, 222. Murali Vijay was the man of the moment crushing the Delhi attack with a blazing 113 off 58 balls. Dhoni clubbed 23 off 10 balls and Bravo 33 off 12 balls. The Delhi line up crumbled under pressure as CSK booked a third straight spot in the IPL final.
Chennai Super Kings 222/5 (20/20 ov); Delhi Daredevils 136 (16.5/20 ov)