IPL 2019: CSK and art of finishing
5 last over finishes in their first 6 matches, 4 wins, 1 loss. In the 4 last over wins, 3 came while chasing. The required rates after the 17th over were 15.67, 14 and 15 respectively. The required rate at the same stage was a staggering 18.33 in game that they lost by 4 runs. The solitary loss against KXIP can be partially attributed to Dhoni's back injury and KXIP's clever use of the situation. And the most impressive part, there was a new hero every time. Be it Bravo against MI, Billings against KKR or Dhoni and Rayudu against RCB, every time there was someone who could master the chase, who could take CSK over the line. This was only the first half of the tournament. The best was yet to come, and it was SRH who were left heartbroken in a thrilling playoff encounter. Du Plessis came to the fore and gave the men in yellow another jailbreak.
In the last edition of IPL, for CSK there was no such total that they could not get, at least that was the belief in the team. It was like everyone knew the formula, everyone had the confidence and therefore we saw a new hero emerge every time. No asking rate seemed beyond reach for the men in yellow at any point in the match. Not only they finished well, they on occasions snatched victories from really improbable positions and that made this CSK side doubly dangerous.
As MS said in the post-match interview after the RCB game, there goes a lot of planning and thinking in the art of chasing such huge totals and at this point of time, CSK executed all those plans perfectly. The formula of taking the game deep worked wonders for them and that too with so much consistency was something they should be really proud of. The huge amount of experience they had in their squad was also a huge factor why they closed off such games successfully.
What these nerve-wrenching wins did was it forced teams to think how much is enough against this line-up and more importantly how to out-think the yellow brigade. CSK made teams go into a mindset where they were forced to err and that was a big advantage for them. With such heroic chases under their belt, CSK seem to have mastered the art of closing off games.
"It doesn't matter how you start, finish it like Dhoni." Well, it was not just Dhoni this season, it was the whole CSK team. CSK have traditionally been known for testing the heartbeats and then finish off in style and that has been a huge reason for them having the largest fan-base, but the frequency of such victories was taken to a whole new level this season. The nerves of steel of Dhoni seemed to have brushed off to the whole team.
As Harsha rightly conferred, "CSK - The masters of heartbeats."