Do the Super Kings have what it takes to build a new IPL dynasty?: The Chennai Super Kings made it four Indian Premier League (IPL) titles in 13 seasons with a comfortable 27-run victory in the 2021 final against the Kolkata Knight Riders. It’s been a decade since the Super Kings won back-to-back IPL trophies, overcoming the Royal Challengers Bangalore on their home soil of Chennai. There was a feeling that, having watched Mumbai Indians win back-to-back in 2019 and 2020 respectively, the Super Kings are on their way to building a new IPL dynasty.
There is no doubt that the Super Kings were the most consistent team throughout the 2021 IPL in Dubai. It was a very different story for their IPL 2021 final opponents, with KKR having to work exceptionally hard to turn their season around after a dismal start to the campaign. By contrast, the Super Kings were steady, if not remarkable, throughout the course of the season. Although the Knight Riders posted a higher net run rate than the Super Kings in the League stage, MS Dhoni and co. were able to win nine of their 14 games compared with the seven wins and seven defeats of KKR. In fact, the Super Kings were top with five wins from their opening six games.
Their dependable bowling attack once again came to pass in the playoff match against Delhi Capitals. Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood did the early damage by removing Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer, laying the groundwork for the likes of Moeen Ali and Ravindra Jadeja to try and tie up ends and build pressure. 173 was a reasonable total to chase for the Super Kings to reach another IPL final and Ruturaj Gaikwad came up trumps with 70 in 50 balls to set the tone. Although the likes of du Plessis and Shardul Thakur failed, MS Dhoni was the man for the occasion to steer them to victory with two balls to spare.
Dhoni wasn’t even needed in the final against KKR, with du Plessis well and truly stepping up to the mark with 86 in 59 balls. Even Robin Uthappa hit 31 at a strike rate of 206% and Moeen Ali concluded the Super Kings’ innings with 37 at a strike rate of 185%. The Super Kings were able to rotate their bowling attack superbly to enable the likes of Hazlewood and Dwayne Bravo to stifle the KKR batters.
Chennai Super Kings: A genuine team despite many fine individuals
The reality is that it was a true team effort for the Super Kings this season. MS Dhoni’s troops now have four IPL titles to their name, one behind five-time winners Mumbai Indians. With MS Dhoni set to play on for at least another season, is there a chance for the Super Kings to develop a new IPL dynasty and dominate for the next few years?
Much will depend on the BCCI’s retention policy. With two new teams set to emerge in the 2022 IPL, it remains to be seen who and how many players each franchise can retain. It’s likely to be two Indian and two overseas players or three Indian and one overseas player per franchise. When quizzed about the likely make-up of the 2022 Super Kings team, Dhoni said the franchise needed to “decide what is good for CSK” and develop “a strong core” to “ensure the franchise doesn’t suffer”.
MS Dhoni looking to the next decade for the CSK franchise
In terms of that “core group”, Dhoni said the franchise will do everything it can to try and build a regular roster of players that can “contribute for the next 10 years”. CSK is on course to become the first Indian ‘unicorn’ from the sports industry, with its franchise now valued at $900m – an almost ten-fold rise from the $91m invested by owner N Srinivasan of The India Cements in 2008. The viewership of IPL 2021 reached 380 million by the halfway point, with the IPL attracting new fans year-on-year. This is due largely to the growing broadcast deals worldwide and the popularity of IPL betting markets at platforms like Betway. As stated in this Betway review, over 130 betting markets are offered in a single IPL game, covering all angles of the on-field action.
Shyan Sekar, founder of investment strategy company iThought Financial Consulting, described the Super Kings as “the Manchester United of cricket” in commercial terms. Naturally, when CSK performs well its brand value simultaneously soars. If Dhoni and co. can develop a franchise core that can outlast him and his veteran peers, CSK’s IPL dynasty could already be in the offing.