IPL 2019: CSK once again show that age is just a number
When your team's average age is 34 and you are taking on a vivacious Delhi side who have an average age of 27, it seemed like a difficult task especially with fatigue playing a factor at this stage of the tournament. Not for CSK though. They have defied all norms over the last two years and have proved to the entire world that experience matters, whatever the format, and they have the resources to deliver on the big stage.
The Delhi Capitals were having a season to remember, as their investment in a youthful side seemed to finally pay off with the team playing some breathtaking cricket throughout this season. This though was crunch time, with the winner getting one step closer to lifting the trophy - a position CSK are all so familiar with. For Delhi, it is the furthest they ever reached in the IPL and they were banking on their youngsters to put on another electrifying performance which would take their team to the final.
Throughout the match today, we saw experience overpower youth and just the calmness with which M.S. Dhoni's side played the game showed that they are seasoned professionals who know how to perform in pressure situations . From calling the right side of the coin to marshalling his bowlers, Dhoni's captaincy was spot on again. He's been here and done this before and it almost felt like he was going through the motions.
All the bowlers stepped up for CSK and it was Dwayne Bravo, the old wily customer, who used all his wisdom and skills that he has garnered over the years to stifle the Delhi batsmen. Bravo picked up a couple of wickets and he bowled 11 dot balls, going for just 19 runs in his four overs.
The Delhi Capitals prefer the ball coming on to the bat smoothly, but with Bravo's variations, it was very difficult for them to find the boundary. Harbhajan Singh , Imran Tahir, and Ravindra Jadeja also stepped up with some crucial wickets and they used all their expertise to keep CSK on top of the game.
With a target of 148 the CSK openers, Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis ensured that it wasn't a tricky chase, as they put on a brilliant 81 run opening stand to take the game away from Delhi. Both these openers are veterans of the game and have played on every stage that they still have what it takes to deliver in crunch situations.
Watson, apart from one game, has had a terrible season so far. But, that didn't phase him one bit as he dropped anchor and let Faf play the aggressive role. As the innings wore on, Watson came into his own and even surpassed Faf's strike rate as he picked up the boundaries with ease and kept CSK ahead of the chase.
It was the perfect partnership that set the platform for the rest of the batsmen to just come in and knock the ball around and seal a comfortable win.
CSK wrapped up the match with an over to spare and 6 wickets remaining in the hut, as they reached their 8th IPL final in just 10 years. This means that CSK have not reached the final on just two occasions and this will also be the fourth time that CSK will be facing their "El Clasico" rivals, the Mumbai Indians, in an IPL final. This will also be the fourth time this season the two IPL stalwarts will be facing each other and CSK will be wary as they have already lost the three previous encounters against MI in 2019.
Dhoni will definitely have a game plan in place for the final and will want his team to execute his strategy to perfection. Mumbai have the advantage but never underestimate this experienced, well-oiled machine that is the Chennai Super Kings.
The Delhi Capitals' fairytale has ended and even though they will be disappointed with their performance today, they should be proud of their overall journey this year and this young team will only mature in the future.
Shreyas Iyer has already matured as a captain in just one year, imagine what he will be like two or three years down the line. The likes of Rishabh Pant, Pritivhi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer will only get better, and who knows in a couple of years time DC might just be the favourites in the IPL with the majority of their players hopefully hitting their peak.