When it comes to the IPL, no two teams have dominated the tournament more than Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, combining for seven IPL titles. Each year, CSK and MI start as the two most favourite teams and more often than not, make it to the Playoffs. In 2018, having returned from a two-year-ban, CSK lifted the title by beating Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final, whereas last year, MI and CSK played a riveting final in which Rohit Sharma’s team clinched a last-ball thriller.
This year, as the IPL moves to the UAE for the second time in history, former Australia fast bowler Brett Lee believes one team is favourite to win the tournament more than anyone else. And it’s neither of the of the two teams he has represented in the past. Lee, who played for Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders during his IPL career, reckons that based on conditions, CSK look favourites to tie Mumbai Indians for the most titles this year.
“I reckon their strength is that their players are a bit more elderly, mature. They’ve got that youth coming through but they’ve got a lot of players who’ve been around a long, long time and I’d say that’s their greatest strength,” Lee said on the Cricket Connected Show on Star Sports.
Chennai Super Kings has never been a team to boast big name signings from an auction or anyone particularly explosive. But what seems to tick for them is their team cohesion and the fact that they always retain a core group of players which provide continuous and consistent success. In the form of MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Imran Tahir as the backbone of the team, coupled with seasoned cricketers in the form of Harbhajan Singh and Shane Watson, CSK is always a team set up for success.
Further, Brett Lee discussed CSK’s spin options, lauding their choices and adding that the conditions are sure to play into their hands. With ammunition in the form of Bhajji, Jadeja, Tahir and Santner, Piyush Chawla and Karn Sharma, the turning pitches of the UAE will be an added bonus for an already strong Chennai team.
“It’s definitely right up there and that will definitely suit those wickets,” Lee said. “Recently, I’ve looked at the forecast of the next two or three weeks. It’s 40 degrees, plus the wickets will surely turn. Therefore, I feel CSK will feel a lot more at home. Imagine all those spinners getting big rips, big turn. I reckon they are definitely suited for this tournament and should definitely be favourites.”
As the mega cash rich league is ready to make its return after a 6 month suspension owing to the Coronavirus pandemic, this cricketing festival could provide some much needed relief to fans all over the world hoping for some entertainment.