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Chennai Super Kings
The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) is an Indian franchise cricket team based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, which plays in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Founded in 2008, the team plays its home matches at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. After serving a two-year suspension from the IPL starting July 2015 for the alleged involvement of their owners in the 2013 IPL betting case (along with Rajasthan Royals), the Super Kings returned to the league in 2018, winning the championship in the comeback season, its third overall to tie Mumbai Indians for the record for most IPL title wins. The team is captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni who has led the team to three victories since 2008 and coached by Stephen Fleming.
The Super Kings have lifted the IPL title thrice (in 2010, 2011 and 2018), and have the best win percentage among all teams in the IPL (61.28). They hold the records of most appearances in the IPL playoffs (ten) and have made it to the playoffs in each season they have featured in the league, being the only team to do so. They also have made into a record eight finals out of ten seasons making them one of the most successful franchises in the IPL. In addition, they have also won the Champions League Twenty20 in 2010 and 2014. The brand value of the Super Kings in 2018 was estimated at $65 million, making them one of the most valuable franchises in the IPL.
During the first player auctions for the inaugural IPL season conducted in January 2008, the Chennai franchise bought a number of contemporary star cricketers such as Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Matthew Hayden, Stephen Fleming, Muttiah Muralitharan and Michael Hussey. Dhoni became the costliest player of the auction, as the Chennai franchise bought him for $1.5 million. The franchise named Dhoni as the captain of the team and appointed Kepler Wessels as the head coach. They played their first game on April 19, 2008 against Kings XI Punjab at Mohali. The Super Kings won the game by 33 runs after posting 240/5 in 20 overs, which was the highest total of the tournament, a record surpassed by themselves in 2010. The Super Kings ended the league stage with eight wins from 14 games and finished third on the points table. They beat the Kings XI Punjab by 9 wickets in the semifinal. The Super Kings faced the Rajasthan Royals in the final of the IPL at Mumbai. Batting first, the Super Kings scored 163/5 in 20 overs and lost the game by 3 wickets off the final delivery of the match. They also earned a spot in the inaugural Champions League Twenty20 along with Rajasthan, but the tournament was cancelled due to the 2008 Mumbai Attacks and the Super Kings, along with Rajasthan, received $5 million each as compensation. Fleming, who had decided to retire from all forms of the game after the first season of the IPL, took over as the coach of the Super Kings team from Wessels for the next season which was to be held in South Africa.
For the 2009 season, the Super Kings bought English all-rounder Andrew Flintoff for $1.55 million at the auction making him the highest-paid IPL cricketer along with English teammate Kevin Pietersen who was bought for the same amount by Royal Challengers Bangalore. However, Flintoff played only 3 matches for them before suffering a knee injury that ruled him out of the season. The Super Kings were also without the services of Hussey who had decided to skip the IPL season to focus on The Ashes. The Super Kings finished with 17 points from 14 matches and earned a second place at the league table. However, at the semi-finals, their hopes of entering the final for a second time were crushed by the Royal Challengers who beat them by 6 wickets. The Super Kings opener Matthew Hayden, who scored 572 runs in 12 innings with 5 half-centuries at an average of 52 and strike-rate of 145, won the Orange Cap for the leading run-scorer of the season and was also adjudged Player of the Tournament.
n 2010, the Super Kings struggled in the first half of the regular season, winning only two matches out of seven. They won four of their next five games in the season mainly due to the efforts of Murali Vijay and Suresh Raina. After a defeat at home to the Delhi Daredevils, the Super Kings were left with a must-win match against Kings XI Punjab at Dharamshala. The Super Kings won the match by six wickets as they chased down the target of 193 with two balls to spare with skipper Dhoni scoring an unbeaten 54 from 29 balls. Thus, with seven wins from 14 matches, Chennai finished with the same number of points as three other teams with two semi-final spots at stake. Chennai got the third place as they had the better net run rate of the four teams which finished on 14 points. In the semifinal, the Super Kings scored a modest 142/7 in 20 overs against the defending champions Deccan Chargers. But an inspired bowling spell from Doug Bollinger (4/13 in four overs) did the most damage as the Chargers were bowled out for 104. This gave the Super Kings a 38-run victory that took them to the final. The Super Kings faced the tournament favorites Mumbai Indians at their home ground in the final. Suresh Raina's 57 (35) helped the Super Kings recover from 68/3 after 12 overs to put up 168/5 at the end of their 20 overs. Then, their spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Muralitharan conceded only 41 runs in the 8 overs bowled between them to help the Super Kings won the game by 22 runs and secure their first ever IPL title. With this, the Super Kings also qualified for the 2010 Champions League Twenty20 that was held in South Africa.
At the Champions League, the Super Kings were placed in Group A along with champions of Twenty20 competitions from Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. The Super Kings topped the Group table with three wins and a Super Over defeat to the Victorian Bushrangers. In the semi-final at Durban, the Super Kings comprehensively defeated IPL rivals Royal Challengers Bangalore by 52 runs. Raina won the Man of the match for his unbeaten 94 off 48 balls. The Super Kings played their first CLT20 final at Johannesburg where they beat the Chevrolet Warriors by 8 wickets, becoming the first IPL team to win the CLT20. Murali Vijay won not only the Man of the Match in the final for his 58 but also the Golden Bat for scoring the most runs in the tournament and Ashwin, who was the leading wicket-taker, was adjudged the Player of the Series. At the end of the season, Matthew Hayden decided to retire from the IPL.
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