Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have played six matches so far but it has been quite a roller-coaster for them. Post their comeback after two years, the MS Dhoni-led CSK side were off to a thrilling start in the first game, beating Mumbai Indians by one wicket. Then the Cauvery protests in Chennai prompted the BCCI to shift their home matches to Pune, much to the dismay of the fans. However, they haven't been deprived of entertainment. Five out of their six matches have turned out to be thrillers. On Wednesday, CSK's darling and captain Dhoni showed his appetite for nail-biting finishes as the Chennai prevailed over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final over of the match.
Here's a recap of this season's thrillers involving CSK:
Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings in Mumbai
What a grand return to the IPL for CSK! It was the very first match of the new season at the Wankhede and CSK made sure it's a memorable one. Defending champions Mumbai Indians batted first after winning the toss and posted a fighting total of 165/4 in 20 overs. Despite skipper Rohit Sharma not clicking, young Ishan Kishan and local boy Suryakumar Yadav played vital knocks for their teams while Krunal Pandya played quickfire innings of 41 in just 22 balls. Deepak Chahar impressed with his fast-bowling for Chennai as he gave away just 14 runs in three overs, including a wicket.
In reply, Chennai's chase never got going as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina were all dismissed before making an impact. Even Dhoni couldn't do much as he walked back to the pavilion after making just five runs. However, the arrival of Dwayne Bravo turned around the game for the visitors. The Trinidadian who has been a vital cog for Chennai over the years, did not take much time to settle. Right from the word go, he played big shots to put the Mumbai bowlers under pressure. He smashed 20 runs in the penultimate over from Jasprit Bumrah to take the game away from Mumbai. He was finally dismissed for 68 off just 30 balls, which included seven huge sixes but by then, he had done his job. Chennai won the match chasing down seven runs in the final over.
Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders in Chennai
Chennai continued their thrilling momentum against KKR in their next game. Playing their first match in over two years at the famous Chepauk Stadium, Chennai, once again, batted second. But this time, their bowlers couldn't do a good job. Apart from Imran Tahir, who gave away only 26 runs in four overs, none of the other bowlers were successful in restricting the run flow. As a result, Kolkata ended up making 202/6 in 20 overs. All-rounder Andre Russell smashed 88 in just 36 balls.
Chasing the target, CSK were off to a good start thanks to openers Watson and Rayudu. Things got a bit trickier after they lost three wickets in quick succession. Dhoni set about the resurrection process with Sam Billings, but just when it appeared that things were back on track, the captain was removed by Piyush Chawla for 25. Taking the responsibility into his own hands, Billings played a blinder, scoring 56 off just 23 balls. He was dismissed in the second-last over with Chennai needing 17 runs from six balls. Vinay Kumar was handed the responsibility to bowl the last over but he failed miserably against Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja. First ball, no ball and a six. Second ball, two runs. Third ball, one run. Fourth ball, wide. Fifth ball, one run. Sixth ball, one run. Seventh ball, a big six by Jadeja to finish the game off and spark off wild celebrations.
Kings XI Punjab vs Chennai Super Kings in Mohali
For the third time in a row, Chennai's game went till the last over. However, this time, they couldn't end up on the winning side. This was the match where Chris Gayle showed why he's still a force to reckon with. Batting first, Kings XI Punjab posted 197/7 in 20 overs thanks to the blistering start provided by Gayle. The southpaw scored 63 off 33 balls, hitting seven fours and four sixes.
In reply, Chennai lost their openers cheaply and the pressure was on the middle-order to chase down a significant target. Ambati Rayudu played a good knock of 49 but it was Dhoni who was the key factor for Chennai. Shifting gears in the final few overs, Dhoni went for the win, hitting his trademark sixes. 55 runs were required off 18 balls, which became 36 from 12 and finally, 17 off six balls. But it was not CSK's day as Mohit Sharma held his nerve to take Punjab past the finish line by four runs.
Chennai Super Kings vs Sunrisers Hyderabad in Pune
CSK were back to winning ways after beating Rajasthan Royals comfortably in their fourth match. But things became little more difficult against Kane Williamson's Hyderabad side. This time, Chennai batted first and put up a good show. Suresh Raina scored his first half-century in this IPL, making 54 off 43 balls. Rayudu too provided good support as his 79-run knock from 37 balls propelled Chennai to 182/3 in 20 overs.
Chasing the target, except for Williamson, Sunrisers' top-order failed against the pace attack of Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur. Chahar bowled brilliantly as he gave away just 15 runs and scalped three wickets from his four overs. Williamson made 84 and Yusuf Pathan tried his best but he too fell after making 45. 19 runs were required from the final over, and this time it was Bravo doing the trick with the ball as he held his nerve to defend the runs in the final over and help CSK win by four runs.
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Chennai Super Kings in Bangalore
— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) April 26, 2018
CSK served up yet another thriller. This time, the heroes for Chennai were their captain and Rayudu. Playing at home, Virat Kohli's side were looking to continue their winning momentum. South Africa teammates Quinton de Kock and AB de Villiers battled it hard in the middle, scoring half-centuries to help Bangalore post a competitive total of 205/8 in 20 overs.
In reply, at one stage, Chennai were struggling losing four wickets for 74 runs. But Rayudu and Dhoni then got together to rebuild the innings. They mixed patience with intelligence to stitch a match-winning partnership of 101 runs from 54 balls. Rayudu departed after making 82 and there was still work to be done. Chennai needed 30 runs from 12 balls when Mohammed Siraj came on to bowl the all-important 19th over. He conceded just three runs from the first four balls, but Dhoni blasted the fifth ball for a six. Siraj then succumbed to pressure and bowled three wides before he finished the over. Corey Anderson was chosen for the final over with 16 to defend, but Bravo smashed a four and a six from the first two balls to set the tone. Dhoni then put the curtains down on the match with a mighty six over cow corner to win it in typical Dhoni style.
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Rahul Tripathi celebrated his promotion to the top by striking a 51-ball 81 as KKR returned to winning ways with a 10-run victory over CSK.
Kohli was involved in two half-century partnerships – one with opener Devdutt Padikkal (33 off 33 balls) and Shivam Dube (22 off 14 balls) for the fifth wicket, an unbeaten 76-run stand, which powered the total.