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IPL 2019: Decoding the secret behind CSK's winning formula

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Chennai Super Kings (picture courtesy: BCCI/iplt20.com)
Chennai Super Kings (picture courtesy: BCCI/iplt20.com)

IPL 2019 saw yet another thriller of a match yesterday, when the Chennai Super Kings took on the Rajasthan Royals.

CSK had won the toss and chosen to bowl first. RR started the game well, but they were never in control of the game, as they lost wickets regularly. Then in the final over, Rajasthan went on to get 18 runs off Shardul Thakur's over, thanks to Shreyas Gopal.

During the chase, Dhawal Kulkarni bowled brilliantly first up, delivering a wicket maiden. By the sixth over CSK had collapsed, and were struggling at 24 for 4. But from then it was a Dhoni-Rayudu show, which helped CSK take the game to the last over.

Chennai needed 18 from the final six deliveries, and they went on to get it with a dramatic last-ball six from Mitchell Santner. MS Dhoni was named the man of the match for his impressive 58 off 43 balls.

CSK have been great this season and are at the top of the IPL points table, even though they have faced a few injuries and some of their players are not in form. They have always qualified for the playoffs when they've played the tournament, and have three trophies to their name.

But what is the secret to their winning formula? Here is an attempt to decode it:

#3 Reading the pitch well

M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai (picture courtesy: BCCI/iplt20.com)
M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai (picture courtesy: BCCI/iplt20.com)

Dhoni and Co always take the effort to understand how the pitch is going to be throughout the match, and prepare accordingly.

If they find there is going to be a lot of dew, they practise bowling with wet bowls. They have proper strategies and plans according to different pitches.

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Even though every team tries to do the same, CSK always seems to be one step ahead of the others.

#2 Team selection

MS Dhoni & Stephen Fleming (picture courtesy: BCCI/iplt20.com)
MS Dhoni & Stephen Fleming (picture courtesy: BCCI/iplt20.com)

Their team selection has always been spot on. Dhoni along with Stephen Fleming have picked the most balanced team for each match.

After reading the pitch well, they find the players who will suit the pitch perfectly. They usually play three spinners and pacers each.

CSK almost invariably selects the most effective bowlers; they might go for Harbhajan Singh or Mitchell Santner, or Shardul Thakur or Scott Kuggeleijn, according to the surface. One big positive for Chennai is that they have good back-ups for every position.

#1 The X- factor - Dhoni

MS Dhoni (picture courtesy: BCCI/iplt20.com)
MS Dhoni (picture courtesy: BCCI/iplt20.com)

This X-factor has possibly the biggest impact of all. MS Dhoni has been an immensely successful captain for India and his leadership skills have always stood out.

Captain Cool has always made the right decisions, whether it is with the bowling changes or with DRS. And he gives his bowlers the right advice and ideas during the game.

Dhoni's wicket-keeping cannot be compared to anyone else either; he is the fastest behind the stumps. Dhoni also makes a great impact with his patient batting through the middle overs and his brilliant finishing at the death.

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