IPL 2018: The return of Classic CSK and Vintage Dhoni
You know there is something that is just not right when unsolvable and unwinnable equations don't just seem all too familiar, but also very much doable from a team’s and a fan’s perspective.
I’m talking about equations like 47 required off 18 balls (Match 1 vs Mumbai Indians), 51 required off 24 balls (Match 2 vs KKR), 55 required off 18 balls (Match 3 vs KXIP) and 45 required off 18 balls (Match 6 vs RCB). Of the aforementioned scenarios, CSK have won 3 and lost just 1. That’s an insane win ratio. And it could have been 4 out of 4 had Dhoni and CSK gotten just one more ball to face against the KXIP.
Equations like these should put the bowling opposition at ease, and with good reason. All they have to do is be disciplined and do the basics. Yet, somehow, when it is CSK that you’re facing, nothing holds good and all bets are off. Everything is possible.
No fan base should ever find themselves in such scenarios so often and no fan base should relish such scenarios the way CSK’s yellow brigade do. These are the kind of climatic crescendos that make the opposition fans bite their fingernails while CSK fans dig into jumbo buckets of popcorn.
Has the universe no balance anymore?
One cannot just simply script these classic CSK endings. In the movies, no matter how difficult the odds are, no matter how many bullets, laser beams, and grenades are thrown at the good guys, no matter how much the hero bleeds, and no matter how much it makes you cling from the edge of your seat, you can still take some solace from knowing that the good guys will win.
Thanos may get his hands on all six Infinity Stones but you know that The Avengers will, eventually and in the end, have the last laugh. It’s all in the anticipation and unravelling of “How they do it” that matters at the end of it.
One can’t blame the opposition to be even more nervous than CSK when the men in yellow are chasing a mammoth total. They are always wondering “how” this CSK team will find their way out of this seemingly impossible mission. And one cannot be held at fault for wondering that maybe, at some cathartic level, the opposition heave a sigh of realisation and exclaim, “That’s how!” when CSK manage to sneak a victory from - to quote a cliche - the jaws of defeat.
The match against RCB not just cemented CSK’s place as the league’s best chasers, it also gave a resounding reminder of why this team has remained the most successful in the league’s history. It was a front-footed statement that the team will not dwell in its past glory but will continue to inspire awe and create history with every game they play.
The match also let the tens of millions of fans relive the vintage Dhoni for everything that this country has come to revere him. The clobbering of bowlers at the death and finishing things off in style with a sixer were all reminiscent of the time when he took CSK to the semi-finals of the 2010 edition of the IPL.
Oh, how the world would want to see him punch his helmet one more time the way he did in Dharamsala. However, whatever blood that flowed through his veins then, has been completely replaced by ice cold water now.
A lot had been said about this CSK line-up before the start of the IPL 2018 season. Their dugout was branded an old-age home. Memes, jokes, and criticisms flooded social media timelines, to which Fleming responded by saying that they are here to win the IPL and not develop young players, and by the looks of it, the pride from Chennai is well on its way to show the others how it is done.