As far as Indian Premier League (IPL) is concern, no two teams have dominated the T20 league more than Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, combining for seven IPL crowns. Year after year, CSK and MI emerge as the two front runners and more often, make it to the playoffs. In 2018, after a two year ban, CSK was crownd the champions after beating Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final, while last year, MI and CSK locked horns in the final in which Rohit Sharma led Mumbai Indians came on top.
This year, as the IPL shifts to the UAE for the second time in history, former Australian pacer Brett Lee feels one team is favourite to win the IPL more than anyone else. And it is non of the two sides he has played for in the past. The pacer who featured for Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders during his IPL career, is of the opinion that because of the conditions, CSK look favourites to to win the title.
“I reckon their strength is that their players are a bit more elderly, mature. They’ve got that youth coming through but they’ve got a lot of players who’ve been around a long, long time and I’d say that’s their greatest strength,” Lee said.
CSK have kept hold of their core group of players – ones who have been responsible for their success over the years. MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo, Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja have formed the backbone of the Chennai based franchise for many years and combined by experienced campaigners in Shane Watson and Harbhajan, CSK may not be a young side on paper, but it has proven its worth each season.
Another factor that makes CSK a front runner in the Middle East is their well stocked spin attack. Harbhajan and Jadeja, Piyush Chawla, Santner and Tahit. These are some of the most experienced names and former Australia pacer was thrilled by the prospect of these players making the most of the pitch in the UAE.
“It’s definitely right up there and that will definitely suit those wickets,” Lee said. “Recently, I’ve looked at the forecast of the next two or three weeks. It’s 40 degrees, plus the wickets will surely turn. Therefore, I feel CSK will feel a lot more at home. Imagine all those spinners getting big rips, big turn. I reckon they are definitely suited for this tournament and should definitely be favourites.”