Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are among the most successful teams in Indian Premier League (IPL) history, winning five titles in 14 IPL seasons. The MS Dhoni-led side won its first title in 2010 and lifted the coveted trophy in 2011, 2018, 2021, and 2023 editions.
In the 2019 season, they were called ‘Dad’s Army’ because the squad’s average age was over 30. The franchise always had some experienced players on their roster. Michael Hussey, Matthew Hayden, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, etc., have made outstanding contributions wearing the yellow jersey and tasted success too.
If it was Matthew Hayden and Michael Hussey until 2010, then Shane Watson made his bat talk in 2018. In 2021, Faf du Plessis’ sole mission was to make CSK win their fourth IPL title. In 2023, the champion franchise found a saviour in Ajinkya Rahane.
We look at five ‘old’ players who took up the mantle for the Chennai outfit in various IPL seasons.
1. Ajinkya Rahane (IPL 2023):
The 34-year-old Mumbaikar was going through some of the most challenging times in his career in 2023 when he got an opportunity to prove himself in CSK colors. He was dropped from India’s Test squad, followed by a disastrous IPL 2022 season that saw him score just 133 runs.
Nevertheless, he came back, and in the IPL 2023 edition, he amassed more than 300 runs at a stellar strike rate of 172.49. Rahane’s best knock came against his old side, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), where he smashed 71 runs off just 29 balls. He even played an uncharacteristic reverse scoop in the thumping win at Eden Gardens. The revival would have delighted fans who kept their trust in the batter in online cricket betting platforms.
Ajinkya Rahane’s IPL 2023 Stats
- Inns: 14
- Runs: 326
- 50s: 2
- SR: 172.49
2. Faf du Plessis (IPL 2021):
Batting at the top of the order, Du Plessis, the then 36-year-old, brought his best game forward. The season, which was interrupted due to the second COVID wave, saw him smash over 633 runs with a spectacular average of more than 45.
Although he deserved a century, he accounted for six fifties in the season. He got his highest individual score (95) against KKR and followed it up with a scintillating 76 against the Punjab Kings. He again scored a valuable 86 in the final against KKR.
The IPL 2021 season was the first time Du Plessis registered more than 500 runs in an IPL season. He finished second in the Orange Cap race in the same season. Also, the former South Africa captain ended up second in the most runs chart in the last season. He scored 730 runs at a strike rate of 153.68 in the 16th edition.
3. Shane Watson (IPL 2018):
In a season where CSK won the trophy, Shane Watson led from the front. Asked to open the batting by Dhoni, Watson, who was 37 then, fired on all cylinders, accounting for 555 runs, which had two hundred and two fifties.
Besides scoring a century in the final, the Aussie would also smash a century against the Rajasthan Royals. It was a dream IPL campaign for Watson, who retired from all forms of cricket at the end of the IPL 2020 season.
Shane Watson’s Top 3 Scores in IPL 2018:
- 117* vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
- 106 vs Rajasthan Royals
- 78 vs Delhi Daredevils
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4. Michael Hussey (IPL 2013):
One of the most loyal servants of Chennai, Hussey has kept scoring loads of runs since the league’s inception. He scored a hundred in the inaugural season and followed it up with 492 runs in the 2011 season, becoming the fifth-highest run-scorer. But his best came in 2013 when he racked up 733 runs.
At 38, he scored six fifties in the season, with a strike rate of nearly 130. It was then the highest number of runs scored by anyone in an entire season. Following this performance, Mumbai Indians bought him in 2014, but he returned to CSK the following year. He is currently the franchise’s batting coach.
Michael Hussey’s CSK IPL Stats
- Inns: 49
- Runs: 1768
- 100s: 1
- 50s: 13
- SR: 123.63
5. Matthew Hayden (IPL 2009):
Hayden joined the squad right at the beginning and, just like his compatriot Hussey, never looked back. He would account for 189 runs in only four games in the inaugural season but would go on to smash 572 runs in the next season, which happened in South Africa.
The left-handed batter, aged 37 then, was in excellent nick, scoring five fifties at a strike rate of 145. In an interview in 2023, he revealed how he was the man in charge of overseas players, acting as a bridge between skipper MS Dhoni and foreign players. He played his part as an opening batter with loads of runs until he retired at the end of the 2010 season.
Mathew Hayden’s Fifties in IPL 2009
- 65 vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
- 57 vs Delhi Daredevils
- 89 vs Kings XI Punjab
- 60 vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
- 60* vs Mumbai Indians
The presence of vastly experienced players combined with Dhoni’s captaincy has been integral to CSK’s success in IPL.
While many teams replace their old players with fresh faces, CSK has always trusted their most experienced hands to come good, and the players have delivered season after season. It is why CSK is one of the greatest T20 teams in the game’s history.