It is done! Chennai Super Kings have clinched the Indian Premier League 2018 trophy. And what a ride it has been. A fairytale ending to the comeback trail in the tournament. During the auction in January this year, the Super Kings stacked up a team in the wrong side of their 30s. Back then, amidst criticism, Stephen Fleming said they had consciously gone for experienced match winners, who can stand up and win matches on their own. And boy, have we seen how that worked out quite fine.
Match winners rose in every game. There were a lot of very close games, where the Super Kings came out on top. The fans were backing them. Chennai Super Kings as a brand had reached a level of popularity which no other team could challenge. Be it taking trains to Pune to watch the team play at an adopted home ground after the Cauvery protests, or packed yellow jerseys at Chinnaswamy, or ‘CSK’ chants drowning out everything at Wankhede, the bloody power house of Indian Cricket, the fans were everywhere.
Interactions with players have been a constant feature this year, and Dhoni was quite chatty. His post match presentations kept getting interesting, with him explaining how or why he did something on the pitch that day and the thought that went into taking certain decisions. His clean cut image gave credibility and admiration.
After winning the final, his face was a sea of calm. He seemed like a guy who knew what it took to win this, with an air of grace about it. Like Frank Underwood. Dhoni would soon achieve cult status in Chennai, something awarded to select film actors and politicians. He was one of our own.
Chennai Super Kings are shaping to be the Real Madrid of the Indian Premier League. The way they powered through the tournament gaining unstoppable momentum playing attractive cricket by superstars, you won’t be blamed if you draw parallels. Fans are flocking in huge numbers. As a brand, they’re doing a lot of things right, Junior Super Kings for instance. The vibrant Chennai cricket scene is getting more and more exciting, especially for young cricketers to have a good shot at making it a career.
As far as the IPL was concerned, it was the most competitive tournament we had seen yet. The TV numbers skyrocketed, and Hotstar recorded 10.7 Million concurrent live stream users for the final. Compare it with BTSport live stream, which got 4.7 Million for the Champions League final. The Star Sports Select Dugout was something I enjoyed, specifically Kumble, Sangakkara and Styris’ analysis of small details in the game.
Now all we need is an open top bus parade, on the Marina Beach dancing to “Chennai Super Kings ku periya whistle adinga”.