As the seventh season of the Indian Premier League nears, we look back at past champions in the cash rich yet controversial event. In part four, we look at 2011 winners, again Chennai Super Kings.
The 2011 IPL was held from April 8 to May 28. A number of teams in this year’s edition went up from eight to 10, with Pune Warriors and Kochi Tuskers Kerala joining the league. With 10 teams in the fray, the format was changed. The teams were divided into two groups of five teams each. Each team played 14 matches in the first round -- the other four teams in their group twice, four teams in the other group once and the other team twice. The knockouts were also changed to playoffs – two qualifiers, one eliminator and the final.
Chennai, the kings of IPL
CSK opened their title defence on a winning note, beating KKR in a close encounter. Batting first, CSK made 153 courtesy S Anirudha’s 64 and then restricted KKR to 151. They went on to lose to Punjab by 6 wickets, but tasted an easy win against RCB by 21 runs, Mike Hussey leading the charge with 83 from 56 balls. They were shocked by Kochi and went down to Mumbai in the next two games, but came back to win two successive games against Pune, by 25 runs and 8 wickets.
Chennai continued their winning run, beating Deccan by 9 runs; Albie Morkel’s three wickets helping them defend 166. CSK thrashed Rajasthan by 8 wickets, chasing down 148 courtesy Mike Hussey’s 79 from 55. Kolkata defeated them by 10 runs but Chennai went on to thrash Rajasthan by 63 runs, Vijay’s 53 being the main contribution. They continued their great form, beating Delhi by 18 runs – Dhoni made a blistering 63 from 31 balls.
Having lost to Kochi earlier in the series, they took their revenge by defeating the newbies by 11 runs – Wriddhiman Saha made an unbeaten 46 from 33 balls. Bangalore got the better of them in their final league encounter by eight wickets but Chennai had progressed to the qualifier.
Chennai came up across RCB again in the qualifier. They were made to chase a tough 176, but booked their place in the semi-final after Raina made an unbeaten 73 from 50 balls. RCB won the second qualifier, and met CSK again in the final. Chennai batted first this time and piled up 205 courtesy Vijay’s 95 from 52. Ashwin took out Gayle for a duck and RCB were reduced to 147 for 8.
Michael Hussey notched up 492 runs in 14 matches at a strike rate of 119 with four half-centuries.
Ravichandran Ashwin was among the top wicket-takers in the tournament. In 16 matches he finished with 20 wickets at a strike rate of 19. He economy rate during the event was 6.15 and average was just a under 20
--By A Cricket Analyst