Murali Vijay and Michael Hussey helped CSK defend their IPL title in style.&
- MS Dhoni led CSK beat Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2011 IPL final to lift the crown for the second time
- CSK openers Murali Vijay and Michael Hussey were the stars of the show with a remarkable 159-run partnership
- The Super Kings became the first team to win back-to-back IPL titles.
Few teams have dominated the Indian Premier League (IPL) like MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Under the leadership of Dhoni, the Yellow Army has been one of the most consistent sides over the years. Right from the first edition, they have proven to be the benchmark that every team has looked up to.
Apart from the two years where they were suspended, CSK have reached the final in nine of the 12 years they have participated in the competition. In fact, they were runner-ups in the first edition where they lost a nail-biting summit clash to Rajasthan Royals (RR) but managed to get their hands on the title in 2010 after a memorable turnaround.
This meant, they entered the 2011 edition as the Defending Champions and stamped their class from the start of the year. While most teams used the mega-auction before the start of the competition to overhaul their squads, CSK, along with Mumbai Indians, were the only teams to retain the majority of their core. This was a decision that paid off for them as they stormed their way into the playoffs and won the first qualifier to reach the final.
In the showpiece encounter exactly ten years ago on this day, Dhoni’s side got the dream opportunity to play a home final at the M Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. On May 28, 2011, the reigning champions faced Royals Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in a fight for the big trophy.
The Super Kings won the toss and decided to bat first which proved to a decisive decision. Openers Murli Vijay and Micheal Hussey gave them a dream start with a 159-run opening partnership. Vijay narrowly missed out on his century after he was dismissed for 95 while Hussey anchored the innings with a solid knock of 63. Dhoni gave his side the perfect finish with a quick-fire cameo of 22 in 13 balls which powered them to a massive total of 205-5 in the allotted 20 overs.
Such was Chris Gayle’s form in the tournament that no total was safe. After going unsold in the auction and then being roped in as a replacement for injured Dirk Nannes, he took the IPL by a storm and one that oppositions across the competitions found hard to deal with it. Over the course of the season, he scored 608 runs in 12 matches at an astonishing average and strike rate of 67.55 and 183.13 respectively.
He won the Orange Cap that season despite playing lesser games than everyone else. Just a day before at the same venue, he smashed a 47-ball 89 against Mumbai Indians (MI) to power RCB into the final.
Hence, despite CSK’s formidable first-innings total, they could not breathe easy for a minute till Gayle was on the crease. However, Dhoni’s tactical genius to open the bowling with Ravichandran Ashwin made the difference. The off-spinner spun magic in the first over as Gayle was dismissed for a duck as he edged a delivery into the hands of the wicket-keeper.
After his dismissal, the RCB innings fell apart as they failed to build a big partnership. Although Virat Kohli and Saurabh Tiwari, with knocks of 35 and 42 runs respectively, tried to stabilise the innings, it was simply a case of too little too late. Ultimately, the Super Kings easily triumphed by a margin of 58 runs to defend their title in style.
In the years since only Mumbai Indians have managed to defend the title showing how difficult winning the tournament in back-to-back years is. The Super Kings have reached the final five times after the triumph in 2011 but only lifted the title once more.