Mahendra Singh Dhoni can never be written off the script. The legendary Indian cricketer, who is fond of winning the biggest trophies in the sport, made a fantastic comeback of sorts in this year’s edition of the IPL. From seeing his team, the Chennai Super Kings, finish at the seventh position in IPL 2020, to leading it to the summit in a year, is truly a remarkable story. This will go down in history as another feather in the cap of this gem of a cricketer.
Dhoni Basking In Glory After Earning 4th IPL Title
Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been with the Chennai-based team since 2008, the year IPL was born. In the ensuing years, CSK has become one of the most successful and respected outfits in the league. They have won the IPL crown four times. Only Mumbai Indians have won more IPL titles than CSK. However, CSK has reached the final of the IPL a record 8 times. Apart from the IPL, Dhoni has also led the Men in Yellow to 2 ICC Champions League T20 titles. This makes Dhoni’s team the most decorated of all IPL franchises.
The IPL is one of the most lucrative and talked-about cricket tournaments in the global cricket calendar, there were predictions and observations concerning the outcome of the competition even before the first ball was bowled. But not a single pundit ruled in favor of the Chennai-based team. They were being seen as also-rans. And Dhoni was adjudged to be way past his best days. With almost the same team that had finished in the penultimate position the year before, Dhoni’s men lifted the trophy in the most magisterial fashion. In the final against Kolkata Knight Riders, Dhoni’s team gave one of the most commanding performances that an IPL final has ever seen.
IPL 2020 Was No Less Than A Nightmare For Dhoni’s Team
Having been mocked before the start of IPL 2020 as a team full of players over the age of 30, Chennai Super Kings proved their haters right by playing a forgettable style of cricket throughout the tournament. Before IPL 2020, CSK were finalists in both IPL 2019 and 2018. However, they could not replicate the success of their previous years three times in a row. They were totally out of tune and finished outside the playoff spots.
There were issues in the batting line-up, with the instrumental Suresh Raina out of the whole run of the tournament. Skipper Dhoni and other batsmen like Kedar Jadhav were also not in fine touch, resulting in a weak middle order. That went on to show just how vital the middle order is to a batting side. With several other issues, CSK could muster a mere 6 wins out of the total of 14 that they played in season 2020. It was the only instance in IPL history that CSK had finished outside the top four in the points table, resulting in the loss of a playoff spot.
Franchisee Owners Never Lost Faith In Their Talismanic Captain
Despite the disappointing 2020 edition of the IPL, CSK franchise owners kept their faith with the evergreen MS Dhoni for yet another season. This was seen as a major mistake by the critics, who argued for a new look CSK minus Dhoni and some of his old guards. They forecasted that CSK would get into the market and buy a bundle of new players to start building up a new team from the scratch.
This was not to be the case, as the CSK board members gave Dhoni full support in picking up players for the new campaign. Leading up to the IPL auction of 2021, most of the existing players of the team were retained, with just 6 players released. This move from the CSK had shocked many in rival camps. Shane Watson became the sole high-profile name who left the squad ahead of the auction. He, however, retired from all forms of cricket.
Among the recruits of CSK were Karnataka batsman and former Indian player Robin Uthappa. He was grabbed via a nominal sum from Rajasthan Royals. Further addition of three players was all that CSK and Dhoni deemed necessary to turn around the fortunes of the side. Along with Uthappa, English all-rounder Moeen Ali, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Krishnappa Gowtham were brought in to fill the vacancies in the squad.
With Old Guns And New CSK Went All The Way
So, after a tumultuous few months leading up to the auction and afterward, Dhoni and his CSK teammates went into battle for regaining the lost prestige that the team is so well associated with. With openers Faf du Plessis and tournament top-scorer Ruturaj Gaikwad decimating opposition bowlers all over the park, and star all-rounders Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, and Moeen Ali playing respective parts, Dhoni guided his team to yet another IPL trophy in the final against formidable opponents KKR.