2015 IPL: A LOOK BACK
Two-time champions Chennai Super Kings entered their sixth finals in season 8 to emerge as the most decorated side in the Indian Premier League while also becoming the only team to qualify for the Playoffs in every season since the inaugural edition.
The Lions missed the services of Brendon McCullum in the knockouts owing to national commitments after the in-form Kiwi had accumulated over 400 runs in the league phase, including a century against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
CSK lost to Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the final at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Put in to bat, MI posted 202/5. The Lions finished at 161/8 with opener Dwayne Smith scoring a fifty.
“I think they got too many on the board,” MS Dhoni told the prize distribution ceremony. “It was a good wicket, if we could have got them out for 185 we felt we could have won. In the first six overs we didn't score enough runs.
“I felt this season was more of a team effort. Individuals have taken responsibility at different times. Losing Brendon McCullum was a big blow just before the Playoffs. I think the overall CSK performance was good,” the skipper added.
CSK, league toppers with 18 points from nine wins out of 14 matches, had lost to MI in Qualifier 1 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai and made it to the title round after putting it across Royal Challengers Bangalore, who beat Rajasthan Royals in the Eliminator, in Qualifier 2.
Michael Hussey, brought into the squad as replacement for McCullum, hit a fifty in the win over RCB after a sensational three for 28 by Player of the match Ashish Nehra and a superb spell by Ravichandran Ashwin (1/13 from 4 overs) helped restrict the opposition to 139/8 in Ranchi.
“It's difficult to say what was a par score but I think another 10 or 12 runs would have been a good score. We have the habit of playing almost all the games in the IPL,” Dhoni said after the three-wicket win.
Earlier, the Lions kicked off their campaign in the eight-team league with a thrilling one-run win over Delhi Daredevils at home. CSK won six out of their first seven games for a great start to the season which also included an exciting two-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders and a thumping 97-run win over Kings XI Punjab.
Nehra’s 4-10 that dismantled RCB at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium was easily one of the finest bowling performances of the season.
Dwayne Bravo won the Purple Cap (leading wicket-taker) with 26 wickets and became the first player to bag the honour twice. It was the third instance of a CSK player winning the Purple Cap, with Mohit Sharma clinching it in 2014 and Bravo previously in 2013.
Among the other notable highlights, Suresh Raina did not miss a game throughout eight seasons and the Lions took their win percentage in the competition to an astonishing 60.68%.