When the Chennai Super Kings were banned for two years due to the betting activities of key official Gurunath Meiyappan, it was almost as if the IPL had lost its charm. The players were divided between new entrants Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiant, and even though the likes players such as MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Dwayne Bravo were in action, an IPL without CSK just wasn’t the same.
So when two years later, the team marked its comeback in 2018, expectations were sky high. Billed as Dad’s Army – mainly because the average age of the team was around 38 – CSK ridiculed the label as they steamrolled opposition on their way to a third IPL title, tying Mumbai Indians with three trophy wins.
CSK won 10 matches out of 15 before the final, including two wins against Sunrisers Hyderabad, the team they were to face in the summit clash. And on the day of the decider, an IPL veteran rose to the occasion. Playing for a new team, Shane Watson bludgeoned an unbeaten century to help CSK overhaul Sunrisers’ total of 178.
Besides Dwayne Bravo, all the other CSK bowlers came up with tidy returns. And the result was it that Sunrisers’ individual top score was 47, by Kane Williamson, followed by Yusuf Pathan’s 45. Barring Deepak Chahar, who gave away just 25 from his four overs, each CSK bowler picked up a wicket and halted Sunrisers inside 180.
In chase, Watson was unstoppable from the very beginning. Watson’s innings comprised eight sixes and 11 fours, and he finished with 117 not out off just 57 balls. CSK won the match by eight wickets, with nine deliveries remaining. A comprehensive one-man show capping off an emphatic IPL season for the Men in Yellow.