Chennai Super Kings (CSK): MS Dhoni's IPL Brigade

The 2023 IPL Final between Chennai Super Kings vs Gujarat Titans, the battle of the Legend Dhoni and the young blood Hardik Pandya. 10 runs were required off the last two balls of the game with Ravindra Jadeja on strike, facing an experienced Mohit Sharma. The largest cricket ground in the world, which was supposed to be the home ground for the GT had turned yellow, with each and every fan in the stadium cheering for the Super Kings. There was silence until Jadeja did the unimaginable and hit two winning boundaries (6+4) of the last two balls. The stadium erupted and tears of joy rolled down from the eyes of every supporter. And It was the great man, MS Dhoni’s day, he and his team had just won the trophy for the city of Chennai for the 5th time. And that’s the magic of this franchise, making the impossible possible, which makes them stand apart, better than anyone, and backed by prayers of thousands. With such a rich history of success and a passionate fan base, CSK has firmly established itself as one of the premier franchises in the Indian Premier League (IPL)

MS Dhoni lifts Jadeja after his heroics in the IPL 2023 Final

Credit: Mint

In this article by ZAP, let’s dive into the glorious journey of CSK, and explore their achievements, iconic players, and the undying spirit that makes them true champions. 

History, Origin and Owners of the Chennai Super Kings:

MS Dhoni standing with the past owner of Chennai Super King, N. Srinivasan and the current CEO of CSK, Kasi Viswanathan

Credit: Cricbouncer

The history of the CSK franchise goes back over before the Indian Premier League was born. In the 2007 ICC T20 Cricket World, a majority of India’s senior players were absent from the tournament. A young wicket keeper captain, with long hair, and explosive batting style stepped up. With his astute decision-making and knack for well calculated risk, he took a young team from the tag of underdogs to champions and won the tournament for the Indian Cricket Team. Dhoni revolutionised Team India and made them a force to be reckoned with. After India’s triumph in the first-ever T20 World in South Africa, the shortest format of the game became super popular in the country. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the launch of India’s very own T20 league, the IPL. Rights were sold for all the teams in the league and the Chennai franchise was bought by India Cements for a staggering $91M. The then ICC Chairperson, Mr N. Srinivasan who was the Vice President of India Cements was considered the owner of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Later, in 2015, the franchisee was transferred from the ownership India Cements to Chennai Super Kings Cricket Ltd., a different organisation.

One of the main reasons why CSK has been very successful is the ownership and the team culture that they have built. From the very first season, they built a team filled with experience and brought in players like Muttiah Muralitharan, Matthew Hayden, and more. They also worked very closely with Dhoni and gave him full control of the kind of players that he wanted to build his team around, which helped in making the decision-making only with a single person’s hands. 

Thala – The Captain of Chennai Super Kings: 

A picture of Dhoni standing with his bat in his hand and a beautiful backdrop of people with their phone cameras on

Credit: The New Indian Express

There’s a famous saying: When Dhoni comes on to bat in an IPL game, most people change the side that they are supporting and put on the Chennai shirt.

One of the defining moments in CSK's history was the purchase and appointment of Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the team's captain. After what he had done with the Indian Cricket Team as the captain and due to his batting style, MSD’s popularity within the country was at an all-time high. The franchise owners went all-in in the IPL Auction to get Dhoni and eventually bought him for a massive $1.5 M (around Rs. 12 Crore in today’s time), making him the most expensive player of the first edition of the IPL. But who knew that this investment was going to be so good, that both, Dhoni's and CSK’s names would become synonymous with each other? Who knew that Dhoni would not only be the face of the franchise but also of the entire league? Dhoni's cool and composed demeanour on the field quickly earned him the nickname "Captain Cool." Under his leadership, both the Indian Team and CSK would go on to achieve unprecedented success. Having spent over 15 years with the franchise, he has now gone on to become the identity of Chennai, with people no longer referring to him by his name but as ‘Thala’, which in Tamil means – Big Brother. 

Chennai's Journey over the years in the Indian Premier League:

All of us know the result of an IPL season even before the season starts. 9 teams will play against each other to face Chennai Super Kings in the Final. That is how dominant CSK have been through all seasons of the tournament. Over 13 seasons played in the IPL and amidst so much competition, this team has missed out on qualifying for the playoffs only twice. How insane is that! 

The Chennai Super Kings team celebrate with the trophy after the 2023 IPL Final

Credit: ZEE Business

  • Chennai Super Kings burst onto the IPL 2008 with a star-studded lineup including MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Muttiah Muralitharan (the highest wicket-taker ever), and Matthew Hayden. In their debut season, they dominated the league and reached the finals without breaking a sweat. It took Shane Warne’s Rajasthan Royals, who were considered the underdogs, a brave performance in the IPL to beat CSK. 
  • The Super Kings rebounded in 2010 and 2011, winning back-to-back titles. They reached the finals in both 2012 and 2013 but failed to beat the Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians, respectively. 
  • In 2015, they reached the finals once again and once again lost to MI. Then came the darkest part, the team was suspended from the league for the 2016 and 2017 season due to match fixing allegations. 
  • The comeback couldn’t have been better; back in IPL 2018, they won in the finals which seemed as the most one-sided final match ever. They made it into the final once again in 2019, but lost to their arch rivals MI, yet again. 
  • The pandemic-hit 2020 season brought challenges, leading to a seventh-place finish, but they bounced back in 2021, clinching their fourth IPL championship. In 2022, under Ravindra Jadeja's captaincy, CSK faced a rare setback, missing the playoffs, but they roared back in 2023 to claim their fifth IPL title. CSK's journey in the IPL is one filled with dominance, memorable victories and unwavering fan support.

But as the great man MSD himself says: “We are the most consistent team in the finals, we lose them consistently”. 

CSK’s IPL Ban:

In 2013, a scandal hit the Indian Premier League (IPL) involving betting and spot-fixing, in which the owners of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) were involved. CSK's principal Gurunath Meiyappan and RR's Co owner, Raj Kundra were arrested for betting. The Supreme Court ordered a committee led by R.M. Lodha, which after investigation recommended a two-year ban for both teams, which was accepted by the BCCI. This meant that both the teams were barred from playing in the tournament in the years 2016 and 2017. New teams were created, Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiants, which replaced the 2 for these two years. But, as the Super Kings always bounce back, they came back in 2018 and won the trophy dominantly, bringing back good times for the fans. 

Chennai Super Kings IPL Trophies:


League Standing

Final Standing


3rd out of 8



2nd out of 10



2nd out of 8



2nd out of 8



2nd out of 10


Why is CSK so successful?

The success of the team can be attributed to 4 points:

Strong team culture:

The team is built on a strong culture with the right balance of experience and youth. Every player is backed, which gives them the assurance of trust and eventually brings the best out of them. 

The Chennai Super Kings players in a huddle before a match

Credit: Firstpost

Loyal fan base:

The team has one of the most passionate fan bases, the Whistle Podu Army. And for the fans, the team is more than just a team, its a representation of their cricket culture, their city and state. 

The stadium stands have turned yellow with fans wearing the yellow CSK jersey

Credit: 81 All Out

Experienced leadership:

There just isn’t a better leader than MS Dhoni to lead a team, and that’s self explanatory. 

Balanced squad:

As mentioned above, the right blend of experience and youth works wonders and the team can battle through all kinds of situations with ease, using the best of both worlds. 

Iconic Players – The Chennai Super Kings Team:

Since the start of the league, CSK has always had a blend of senior players and youngsters who play in the team. The older players add experience, and the youngsters bring in the zeal and their electric performances in important matches. Players like Mike Hussey, Matthew Hayden, Murali Vijay, Imran Tahir and many more who have played for the team, have become cult heroes for the people of Chennai. But there are some that stand apart and are legends not only for the franchise but also for the city and the state. 

Suresh Raina:

Suresh Raina playing a pull shot in an IPL match


Raina, more commonly known as the Chinna Thala, the younger brother of the people, has been one of the best batsmen for the franchise and even in the league. With 5528 runs, he is one of the highest run scorers in the league. At one point, he was even the player with the most runs in the league. His left-handed masterclass and his ability to play sharply in the powerplay, accelerate in the death overs and play calmly in the middle over have helped the team win innumerable matches. One of his best innings ever was in the Chennai Super Kings versus Kings XI Punjab (CSK vs KXIP) in the 2014 Eliminator. Chasing a 200+ runs target, Chinna Thala was on fire where he had scored blistering 87 runs off just 26 deliveries. Only a runout stopped him from possibly playing one of the best knocks ever played in the league. 

Ravindra Jadeja:

Jadeja Celebrates winning the match with a leap in the air

Credit: The Quint

We all know about Ravindra Jadeja’s heroics for Chennai Super Kings in the 2023 Finals, single-handedly snatching the victory off of Gujarat Titan’s hands. That’s how important of a player he is for this franchise. He is like the engine, the perfect all-rounder and has been the spearhead of Dhoni’s bowling attack in countless games. With the bat, too, he has been brilliant when needed. That six-hitting masterclass in the game versus Royal Challengers Bangalore, against Harshal Patel, he smashed 37 runs runs off the last over in the 2021 season!

Dwayne Bravo:

Dwayne Bravo celebrates a wicket in his trademark dancing style

Credit: GS Producciones

Dwayne Bravo can easily be said to be the best bowler ever to play for the Chennai Super Kings. He not only is the highest wicket taker in the league for the franchise, but also was the player with the most wickets in the league, until Yuzi Chahal overtook him just last season. His combination of pace and slower deliveries, with pin point yorkers and deceiving loopy cutters made him a versatile bowler who could bowl in any part of the game, the powerplay, the middle overs and the death. In the 2013 season, he became the first bowler to pick up more than 30 wickets in a single season, winning the Purple Cap on the way. But people loved him more as an entertainer than as a player. He was like a part time player and a full time rockstar. With all kinds of unique celebrations after every wicket, of which the Champion Song and celebration were stuck in everyone’s minds. 

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Home Ground: MA Chidambaram Stadium:

A Panoramic image of the MA. Chidambaram Cricket Stadium in Chennai, the home ground of the CSK

Credit: Wikimedia Images

CSK play their league game in the historic MA Chidambaram stadium, also known affectionately as the Chepauk, one of the oldest cricket grounds in history. After undergoing a massive makeover in 2010, it now has a 50,000-seat capacity. What's remarkable is that the Super Kings have an impressive 70.91% win record at this stadium, earning it nicknames like "Fortress Chepauk" and the "Lions' Den." The Super Kings were the first team to win all eight of their home games in the 2011 season, including the Final game. They did it in front of their passionate Chennai fans. 

Read More: MCA Ground, Pune | MCG Ground | Lord's | Sydney Cricket Ground

CSK’s Kit - Logo, Jersey and Sponsors:

The Chennai Super Kings Jersey

To honour the emperors of the Tamil empire, the Chennai franchise gave the team the name Chennai Super Kings. The adjective "super" is frequently used in southern India, particularly in Tamil Nadu. The team's name is also derived from the "Coromandel King" brand of India Cements. According to the logo designers, the roaring lion emblem matches the team name because the lion is known as the ruler of the jungle. The team name is depicted in blue beside the orange head of a roaring lion on the logo. The crown that appears above the team name is the same one that appears in the Coromandel King brand's emblem. The logo's elements represent a variety of traits, including vitality, youth, a commitment to excellence, and a fierce attitude. The team's primary colour is yellow, and the shirt has stripes of blue and orange on either side. In addition to the major sponsor's logo, the jersey features the roaring lion emblem in the shirt's centre. With the exception of the sponsor placement, the basic design of the jersey has not changed since the first season. Reebok produced the team's uniforms up until 2014; starting in 2015, Australian apparel and sports gear manufacturer Spartan produced the team's clothing. 

Chennai Super Kings Rivalries:

Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians (CSK vs MI):

Dhoni and Rohit pose together before the match between CSK and MI starts

Credit: English Jagran

Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, the IPL's heavyweights, have clashed more times than any other teams. They are the two most successful teams in the history of the league, both with 5 IPL Trophies each. The two teams have faced off in four IPL finals in 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2019, with Mumbai triumphing three times and Chennai once. This fierce rivalry is often dubbed the "El Clasico of IPL." 

Chennai Super Kings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (CSK vs RCB):

CSK players lift Dhoni in the air after his brilliant innings in a run chase against RCB

Credit: India Today

This is the rivalry between two of the greatest players ever, and IPL Legends, MS Dhoni vs Virat Kohli. Where the Super Kings have always done amazing in every season, the same cannot be said for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. This fiery matchup is also known as the "Kaveri derby" and "South Indian derby." In the 2011 IPL final, the Super Kings faced RCB, marking their sole face-off in an IPL final.

The Unwavering Fan Support – The Whistle Podu Army:

The Super Kings boast an extensive fan base across India, with the "Whistle Podu Army" serving as their official fan club, born during their IPL suspension in 2016. Impressively, over 10,000 fans flocked to witness the team's practice sessions in 2018 and 2019. When the Super Kings' home games shifted to Pune in 2018, the team organised a special charter train and provided free accommodation for more than 1,000 devoted fans. Their theme song, "Whistle Podu," originally a YouTube sensation in 2008, gained iconic status during the 2009 season and now stands as the team's anthem. The music video showcases the lively Dappangutthu street dance, beloved by Tamil Nadu communities and Tamil cinema, featuring whistles from some of the Super Kings players for that personal touch.


The Chennai Super Kings have been one of the greatest franchises in t20 cricket for a long time. But as change is the only constant, they, too, will have to evolve and make some important decisions. Not buying Suresh Raina in the 2022 Mega Auctions was one such brave decision. Furthermore, they’ll have to shift focus from an old player-dominated side to a young side with players like Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shivam Dubey, and co. leading the charge. With one of the greatest players ever and the heart and soul of the team, Dhoni’s twilight period over the head, they need to look for a captain and leader who just leads just the great man did. 

Now that you have read about the Chennai Super Kings, here are some more articles we recommend reading:

Day-Night Test Matches | County Championship | Cricket Exercises and Workouts | Wicket Keeping Tips and Techniques

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