IPL 2018: Rating the Chennai Super Kings squad ahead of the final
If you would have told anyone that Chennai Super Kings would be making the final of the IPL 2018, most of them might have believed you. This is simply because of the fact that CSK had made it a habit to reach the finals, more than the quality of the squad at their disposal.
After the auction, it was understandable that some hard-core CSK fans were unhappy with the strategy since Flemming and Co and returned with an ageing squad consisting of players who were slightly past their prime thereby leaving the team with not a lot of young blood.
It was the same CSK people fondly remembered - Dhoni, Faf du Plessis, Raina, Jadeja and Bravo - along with reinforcements like Shane Watson and Harbhajan Singh. A team that could have dominated the tournament four years ago had been assembled and thrust into the modern age.
However, CSK have clearly outdone everyone's expectations and the very players who were thought to be its rotting backbone have become the pillars of its salvation. On that note, here's a look at how each of its squad members has gone about their business in the tournament:
(For the sake of clarity, we will be considering only players who have played more than 3 matches.)
#1 MS Dhoni - 9.0
As cliched as it sounds, MS Dhoni aged like fine wine.
In what is his ninth season in charge of the Chennai outfit, MS Dhoni has gone above and beyond to prove that he is nowhere near the end of his playing days. With just one final game left to go, this IPL is statistically his second-best tournament - recording 455 runs in 15 matches at an average of 75.83 and a strike rate of 150+ to go with it.
Not only has his batting come to the forefront at his new look atNo.4 slot, but his captaincy is better than ever - and that is not an easy task when you are Dhoni. His golden touch, which many considered to have waned, has returned to its full glory and everything he laid his hands on turned to solid gold for the Super Kings.
Irrespective of CSK's final spot by the tournament or not, Dhoni should walk into the team of the season - and for the first time in forever, he can make it purely on the aspect of his batting alone.
#2 Sam Billings - 5.5
The Englishman has not exactly set the stage on fire after scoring a 50 in his first match against the Kolkatta Knight Riders.
His weakness to playing spin has been the cause of his downfall, as he has failed to move into double figures in six of the eight innings he has batted in. Roped in to save the middle order in the absence of Kedhar Jadhav after his injury, Billings has mostly disappointed.
With Faf du Plessis coming to form in the Qualifier, the right-hander will mostly spend the final on the bench and will not have much to complain against.