Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been the backbone of the side since the inaugural season and has led them successfully with his calm and tactically brilliant captaincy. IPL is one the most competitive T20 tournaments in the world and to deliver with such consistency for over a decade is a big achievement.
CSKTable 1 - Year-wise performance of CSK in IPL
Playoffs Performance – Year-wise
2008 – Runners-up
CSK came into the inaugural season of the IPL with high hopes. The T20 World Cup-winning captain, MS Dhoni was their leader, and with players like Suresh Raina, and Albie Morkel and a strong bowling attack at their disposal, CSK generated a lot of hype in the opening season.
They won 8 out of their 14 games in the league stage and beat Punjab Kings XI in the semi-final to reach the summit clash. Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni were their top run-getters while Albie Morkel and Manpreet Gony excelled with the ball. However, they could not cross the final hurdle as Rajasthan Royals became the champions of the inaugural season of the IPL.
2009 – Fourth Position
The second season was played in South Africa and CSK again was quite consistent as a unit and finished second on the points table at the end of the league stage. However, they lost the semifinal and once again missed out on an opportunity to lift the title.
Matthew Hayden was the star with the bat and was the leading run-scorer of the season with 572 runs in 12 matches. With the ball, it was a collective effort from the likes of Muthiah Muralidaran, Balaji, and Shadab Jakati. Unfortunately for the CSK fans, they could not turn up on the semifinal day against RCB.
2010 – Champions
This was the season when CSK lifted their maiden IPL trophy and when they were under the pump in a must-win game on the league stage, it was MS Dhoni who displayed his fantastic finishing skills. Suresh Raina was the leading run-scorer and was also the player of the match in the final against Mumbai for his fantastic fifty
Muthiah Muralidaran was again their premier wicket-taker while it was also the season of the rise of Ravichandran Ashwin and the brand ‘CSK’.
2011 – Champions
This season was played just after India’s win in the 2011 World Cup and Dhoni’s popularity was at its peak at that time. Chennai was also coming into the season as defending champions and Dhoni made sure that he and his team CSK were on the mark. CSK played some dominating cricket this season and lifted the trophy for the second time in a row to create an aura of invincibles around them.
Michael Hussey was the leading run-scorer even though Raina continued his stellar form at number 3. Ravichandran Ashwin and Doug Bollinger also became household names as they performed exceptionally well with the ball in CSK’s title defense.
2012 – Runners-up
This was another one of those seasons where CSK after struggling in the first half of the tournament, managed to lift their game in the second half and reached the final again. On the night of the final though, they were outclassed by the knock of Manvinder Bisla as KKR chased a huge target to win their maiden title.
Raina continued to grow in stature as one of the best batters of IPL while Bravo and Hilfenhaus emerged as new stars. Overall, this was another season where CSK reaffirmed the fact that they are the most consistent team in the IPL.
2013 – Runners-up
This was the season when Chennai Super Kings dominated the proceedings in the league stage. They were the table-toppers and Michael Hussey was the Orange Cap holder of the season with 733 runs in 17 matches. DJ Bravo was once again brilliant with the ball and took 32 wickets in 18 games.
In the final, CSK was beaten by the brilliance of Pollard and for the second time in a row, CSK could not cross the final hurdle. This was also the season when the CSK-MI rivalry started heating up.
2014 – Third Position
CSK continued to play dominant cricket as they managed to stitch together six consecutive wins in the league stage and finished in the third position on the points table. Suresh Raina was again brilliant with the bat which included a whirlwind knock of 87 from just 25 balls in Qualifier 2. However, it was still not good enough to beat a rampant Kings XI Punjab side that season.
Mohit Sharma also had a breakthrough season and picked 23 wickets in 16 games to win the Purple Cap. Jadeja was another player who started to deliver on his potential and had a wonderful season as an all-rounder.
2015 – Runners-up
CSK managed to win 9 out of the 14 league stage games and topped the table. However, just when MS Dhoni and his boys were looking all set to win their third title, Mumbai spoiled their party and beat them again in the final.
Suresh Raina was comparatively silent with the bat this season but Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith took over the baton of scoring runs and Faf du Plessis also made his presence felt with valuable contributions. CSK have been traditionally dependent on their spinners but this season Bravo and Ashish Nehra emerged as their most important bowlers.
2018 – Champions
This was the perfect case of Dad’s army nailing a comeback! At the start of the season, CSK was criticized for choosing a team full of players over 30 years of age but displayed some great skills and finished at number 2 on the points table with 9 wins in 14 games.
Ambati Rayudu was the leading run-scorer for CSK with 602 runs in 16 games. MS Dhoni was also at his belligerent best with 455 runs at a strike rate of 150.66. Shardul Thakur was the leading wicket-taker with 16 wickets but it was a high-scoring season and the batters did the bulk of the work.
However, the man who stole the limelight on the night of the final was Shane Watson. He smashed a quality bowling attack of Sunrisers Hyderabad all around the park and played a brilliant unbeaten knock of 117 from just 57 balls.
2019 – Runners-up
This was the season that took the rivalry between CSK and MI to another level. CSK and MI met again in the final after both dominated the league stage and in a thriller of a final, MI managed to clinch the game by just a single run despite another Watson special in the final.
MS Dhoni, the skipper, was the leading run-getter of the season for CSK and played a big part in taking CSK to the final again. Also, this season, Imran Tahir was their main weapon with the ball and was the ‘Purple Cap’ holder too for his 26 wickets in 17 games. Deepak Chahar was another player who emerged as a match-winner for CSK.
2021 – Champions
The 2020 season was the first one when CSK could not qualify for the playoffs but in the very next season, MS Dhoni and his boys roared back and emerged as the champions for the fourth time in the history of the IPL.
CSK secured a second spot on the points table after winning 9 out of their 14 games and inched ahead of RCB on net run rate. MS Dhoni then finished off a tense chase in Qualifier 1 in his own usual cool and calculated way and eventually, CSK emerged as the champions. The chief architects though were their openers, Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad who both scored heavily topping the batting charts of the season.
Thus, the only two seasons that CSK have not been able to qualify for the playoffs are the 2020 and 2022 season. They were also absent from the IPL in the 2016 and 2017 seasons when both CSK and Rajasthan Royals were banned.
Overall, CSK under MS Dhoni will surely go down as one of the most consistent and dominant teams in the history of the IPL.
IPL will be back to the traditional home and away format for the 2023 IPL and it would probably be the last time we will see MS Dhoni as a player in the IPL. So, we can expect CSK to go all in to give their ‘Thala’ a fitting farewell in the 16th edition of the Indian Premier League.