Chennai Super Kings have been the most successful team in the IPL. They are also the most popular and most followed franchise in IPL history. Their Captain MS Dhoni is the only captain from the first edition of the IPL who is currently active in international cricket. Dhoni along with Suresh Raina has been playing for CSK since the inaugural edition of the IPL.
The rivalry between CSK and Mumbai Indians has been legendary in IPL history. In fact, MI is the only team in IPL who has a better win record against CSK. In a total of 26 matches played between these two teams so far, Mumbai has the upper hand with 14 wins against CSK’s 12.
CSK being the most successful team in the IPL, it would be only appropriate to write separate articles for each one of CSK’s 3 most memorable wins against each opponent. In the first edition of the sequence, let us revisit CSK’s 3 memorable wins against arch-rival MI.
#3. At Chennai in 2008
This was CSK’s second match in IPL history and first at home. While there is no prize for guessing who captained CSK, Harbhajan Singh was the Captain for MI in the absence of the regular captain Sachin Tendulkar. Dwayne Bravo, CSK’s current hero, was playing for MI at that time.
Harbhajan won the toss and invited CSK to bat. For MI, Shaun Pollock and Ashish Nehra opened the bowling while Matthew Hayden and Parthiv Patel opened the batting for CSK. Patel took most of the strike in the first two overs and hit 3 fours.
Hayden got going in Pollock’s second over drilling him for 2 fours and 1 six. The loss of Parthiv Patel and Mike Hussey didn’t stop Hayden from going for his shots. The southpaw in the company of Suresh Raina flourished to reach his 50 off 33 balls. Raina too reached his 50 off exactly the same number of balls before losing his wicket. The duo stitched together a century partnership.
Hayden was unstoppable after reaching his 50 as he added 31 runs to his individual score in the next 13 balls. He added 51 runs in 4 overs with MS Dhoni before he ran himself out. CSK reached a formidable score of 208 at the end of 20 overs.
When Mumbai started their chase, a lot was expected from the Sri Lankan powerhouse Sanath Jayasuriya. But after smashing 4 fours, Jayasuriya disappointed the sporting Chennai crowd when he left for 20. While Robin Uthappa held the Mumbai innings together scoring 43, the overseas all-rounders Pollock and Bravo failed with the bat.
At one stage, MI were 141 for 6 needing 68 off 27 balls. When everyone thought the game was as good as over, Abhishek Nayar and Harbhajan launched into Palani Amarnath for 21 runs in the 17th over of the innings. The next over of Jacob Oram went for 13 runs. Now Mumbai needed 28 in 2 overs.
It was the guile of Muttiah Muralitharan which saved the day for CSK. He bowled the crucial 19th over of the innings and removed the dangerous looking Harbhajan conceding a mere 9 runs in the process. However, Nayar kept Mumbai in the game squeezing 2 fours off the first 2 balls of the last over. But Joginder Sharma kept his cool for the last 4 balls and in the end, CSK won by 6 runs after posting 208.
The rivalry between CSK and MI in IPL started on that day at Chepauk.
#2. The Finals at Mumbai in 2010
CSK and MI reached the final of IPL 2010. The MI was appearing in a final for the first time and that too at their home ground.
CSK won the toss and safely decided to bat first in the big final. The CSK openers Murali Vijay and Matthew Hayden gave their team a solid start putting on 44 runs for the first wicket. However, both the openers departed before the score crossed 50.
CSK’s man for the crisis, Badrinath too departed cheaply. CSK were in a spot of bother with the score reading 67 for 3 in the 12th over. Their run rate was just above 5 with only 8 overs to go. At this juncture, the CSK skipper MS Dhoni joined the IPL superman Suresh Raina.
The MI had a weak link in their bowling armory in the form of Kieron Pollard as their 5th bowler. Raina targeted that weak link milking 31 runs from Pollard’s last 2 overs. Even the main bowlers Lasith Malinga and Zaheer Khan were not spared on their comeback spells.
Raina reached his 50 off 24 balls. He and Dhoni added 72 runs in 6 overs to bring some respectability to the CSK total. After Dhoni’s dismissal for 22, Albie Morkel played a cameo scoring 15 off 6 balls and CSK reached a decent total of 168. Raina remained not out on 57 off 33 balls with 3 fours and 3 sixes. The match was in the balance at the halfway mark.
Ashwin started CSK’s bowling efforts with a maiden. In the next over, Doug Bollinger got rid of Shikhar Dhawan. However, Abhishek Nayar who was promoted to No. 3 and Sachin Tendulkar were quick to get off the mark and the partnership was assuming dangerous propositions. Mumbai reached 67 for 1 at the end of 11 overs.
With the match perfectly poised for a close finish, Dhoni got into the act. Nayar dropped the ball at short square leg and took off. Tendulkar refused to budge and Dhoni had ample time to aim at the stumps and effected a direct-hit. That was the turning point of the match.
For some strange reasons, MI promoted Harbhajan at No. 4 who lasted for just 2 balls. The sudden loss of 2 wickets in one over stalled MI progress. Both Tendulkar and new batsman Ambati Rayadu had to slow down to consolidate. The asking rate jumped up to 12.71 with 7 overs to go. In the14th over, Raina conceded 15 runs to Ambati Rayadu.
Shadad Jakati then removed the well-set Tendulkar for 48 in the 15th over. In the same over, Saurabh Tiwary became Jakati’s second victim. The stage was set for Kieron Pollard’s arrival with MI needing 69 off 31 balls. But Mumbai made another tactical blender by sending in JP Duminy ahead of Pollard. Duminy wasted precious deliveries and got out to Muralitharan for 6 off 7 balls.
Finally, Pollard arrived at the crease with MI needing an improbable 55 in 3 overs. The 18th over was bowled by CSK’s most successful bowler of the season Doug Bollinger. Pollard had no other choice except to swing his bat around. He hit 2 fours and 2 sixes in that over to reduce the target to 33 in 2 overs.
Albie Morkel bowled an excellent 19th over in which he gave away only 6 runs and took the wicket of danger man Pollard off the last ball of his spell. In between, Rayadu had to sacrifice his wicket to keep Pollard going. The loss of those 2 wickets in the 19th over virtually sealed Mumbai’s fate as CSK won the finals by 22 runs.
CSK won the IPL trophy for the first time.
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#1. At Mumbai in 2018
This was the opening match of last year’s IPL. CSK was making a comeback into IPL after serving their ban of 2 years. They have retained their core of the team in IPL auction 2018. The crowd at Wankhede stadium was delighted to watch the yellow brigades back in action.
After being asked to bat first, Mumbai made 169 in 20 overs. In reply, CSK were first reduced to 84 for 6 and then Kedar Jadhav had to retire hurt. CSK’s only hope was Dwayne Bravo. He was batting on 7 when the sixth wicket fell. CSK needed 82 in 7 overs with effectively 3 wickets in hand.
Bravo threw caution to the wind and launched into Mumbai’s bowling attack. He had understood the situation perfectly and he had decided to go down fighting. But he got no support from the other end as both Harbhajan Singh and Mark Wood got out cheaply.
CSK needed 48 off 21 balls when last man Imran Tahir joined Bravo. Now it was all up to Bravo but at that stage, it looked like the match was beyond CSK’s reach. With nothing to lose, Bravo went on the rampage hoisting 2 sixes and one four in the 18th over bowled by McClenaghan. Now 27 were needed off 2 overs.
The death over specialist Bumrah bowled the all-important 19th over. The first ball was a full toss which Bravo gleefully lofted over long-off. The second ball too was a full toss which Bravo promptly deposited over mid-wicket. Bumrah lost his length for the third time in the over and saw the ball sail over mid-wicket.
Now 7 needed off 7 balls. All Bravo had to do was to take a single and keep the strike. But Bravo went for the glory shot and was caught at extra-cover for 68 off 30 balls with 3 fours and 7 sixes at a strike rate of 227. Bravo’s heroics prompted Kedar Jadhav to come back to the batting crease with 7 needed in the last over.
The first 3 balls bowled by Mustafizur Rahman were all dot balls as Jadhav could not be fluent in his stroke making as his movements were restricted by the injury. But Rahman bowled a faster one on the off-stump positioning the fine-leg inside the circle. Jadhav used the pace of the ball to scoop it over fine-leg for a six.
Jadhav finished off in style, cracking the next ball through covers. CSK made their return to IPL after 2 years with an incredible win, courtesy of Dwayne Bravo’s extraordinary innings.
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