IPL 2021 has been nothing short of a dream ride for Chennai Super Kings. The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side became the first team to qualify for the playoff spots of this season’s IPL. They defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad by six wickets in the final over of their latest match to get the job done. CSK also maintain a comfortable lead at the top of the table and are still unbeaten after four matches in UAE.
This is in sharp contrast to their performance at the United Arab Emirates last season. On that occasion, they managed just six wins in 14 matches and finished second from bottom. That was the only instance of CSK not qualifying for the IPL playoffs in the history of the franchise. CSK’s talismanic leader MS Dhoni has credited the players and the support staff for this entire dramatic turnaround.
Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony after hitting the winning six against SRH, Dhoni said, “It means a lot because the last time in the post-match presentation I had, I said we want to come back strong… You keep learning out of it, and that is what we have done this year even though we played the first half [of the season] earlier. Every credit must be given to the players and the support staff.”
CSK have been extremely consistent the entire season. They occupied the second place in the points table before IPL 2021 came to a quick halt due to COVID outbreaks in camps and had to be postponed. Since arriving to the UAE, the country where they finished second from bottom in the last IPL season, they have won four matches on the bounce and have looked almost invincible.
Batting first, Sunrisers Hyderabad could only score 134 runs against Chennai Super Kings. Wriddhiman Saha was the top-scorer with a knock of 44 off 46 deliveries while nobody else managed to cross the 20-run mark. Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf Du Plessis led the run chase for CSK with their opening stand of 75 runs.
The batters seemed to be struggling to play their shots and didn’t seem to be at ease. MS Dhoni also lauded his bowlers for varying their pace and length to get the desired results. “It wasn’t a wicket where it was turning or stopping a lot. But there was good bounce. Bowlers varied their pace and length very well… That is what I told them before the start of the game as well. The execution was there,” MS Dhoni added.