What was so special about CSK's title winning campaign this year?
Another year of IPL is over and as we look back at it, it was once again thorougly entertaining. If we go by the opinions of many, it was the most closely fought one too. Dhoni and his men from Chennai did the unthinkable. At the start of the IPL, Chennai were looked at as an experienced team but with too many ageing players. They were never considered as the favourites until maybe halfway thorough the tournament.
So, what was the selling point of this ageing team? The healthy mix of individual brilliance and collective efforts.
Chennai's experienced players who were considered too old for an extravaganza like the IPL all delivered. Experience thus outsmarted the youth's energy and agility. Starting from game one, whenever the chips were down, one or two players stood out, and more or less on their back won them the game, be it Bravo, Billings, Rayudu, Watson or Captain Cool himself.
However, what I think stood out for this winning campaign was "MS DHONI". There was something special about him this season. He looked extremely motivated. You could certainly see that in his batting and many a time while he was fielding, you could see the displeasure on his face when there was a misfield, dropped catch or ordinary bowling.
Maybe after RPS finished seventh and he was removed from captaincy, he wanted to show that he can still marshal his troops to victory. Maybe he wanted to give the supporters of CSK a gift, the fans who had waited for 2 years to see the yellow army in action or shut the mouths of his critics who were thinking that he is far from his best. He started attacking from ball one in many games, and finished off games (lack of which garnered severe criticism).
It's quite rightly said that if the leader leads from the front, his confidence is reflected in the team. The motivation and willingness of Captain Cool to do well was certainly embodied in his team. Whenever it appeared that this time, CSK will not be able to get past the line, someone stood up and delivered. The out-of-form Faf du Plessis was backed by MSD, and he delivered in the all-important qualifier against the best bowling team of the competition. It’s just one of many instances where Dhoni had complete confidence in his players.
Dhoni's motivation and his hunger to win were probably the most important factors in CSK's triumphant return, and hopefully, he will continue his good form on the international stage as well.