The heat is on in Chennai

Kunal Diwan Chennai | Updated on May 27, 2011

The first franchise to confirm its entry in the final of IPL-IV, defending champion Chennai Super Kings starts a favourite to win its second league title, at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday. Super Kings has maintained a perfect (seven in seven) record in home games, and fans who queue up outside Chepauk one last time this season, would hope that their den remains inviolate after this final onslaught by a visiting side.

In its third IPL final, Super Kings is certain to draw a packed house that will crank up the volume each time the men in yellow make a move on the opposition. The renovated stadium, which allows for sea breeze to filter in, has made life relatively easier for the legion of raucous fans that Super Kings commands. Teams playing at Chepauk have often expressed their unease not just with the lethargic, turning nature of the pitch, but also with the unnerving sound generated from the stands.

Chennai's campaign began successfully when Tim Southee bowled it to an exciting last-over win against Kolkata Knight Riders in the inaugural match at home. As the season progressed, strong performances from opener Michael Hussey, Suresh Raina (the leading overall IPL run-getter), left-arm pace bowler Doug Bollinger and off-spinner R.Ashwin ensured it a place in the last-four.

Throughout, skipper M.S. Dhoni has led the team the only way he knows — with charismatic confidence — also pitching in with conclusive assaults when required. Dhoni's captaincy has been a major factor in the Super Kings reaching at least the semi-final stage in each of the four IPL seasons — the only franchise to have done so.

Whatever the outcome tomorrow, Chennai Kings status of being the most successful team across seasons is likely to remain intact.

Published on May 27, 2011

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