1. Retaining the same team
Chennai was the only team other than Mumbai which retained four players from the last season. Not only they retained Dhoni, Raina, Vijay and Albie Morkel, they also bought back players like Michael Hussy, R Ashwin, Shadab Zakati and S Badrinath. This made the core of the team unchanged and while other teams struggled to strike balance and understanding between the players, CSK enjoyed comfort of a settled side.
2. The MSD advantage
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the goldfish of world cricket today. His maverick ways and the ability to remain cool in tense situations make him the best captain around. He pulls a rabbit out of his hat every time you think there’s no way out. His self believe and calmness rubs on the team. His contribution as a batsman and wicket keeper is an added advantage.
3. Team effort
By far Chennai was the best team in the tournament. While other teams heavily depended on individual players (like Bangalore relied on Gayle and Mumbai on Sachin), Chennai always played like a team. Every time they were in trouble somebody rose to the occasion. Like Raina and M Vijay were not in the best of form in the league stage, but they performed in the last two games to make CSK the champions.
4. Chepauk: The CSK fortress
The Chepauk ground at Chennai was turned into a virtual fortress of their own by CSK. The team won all the 8 matches including the summit clash played on their home ground. On match day the stadium turned into a sea of yellow CSK supporters which was like a 12th man for the team. Their cheering and support egged on the team to do better.
5. Spin Web
CSK spin twins R Ashwin and Shadab Zakati where difficult to score. Especially R Ashwin was the go to man for his skipper. Dhoni threw the ball to him every time he needed a breakthrough and Ashwin willfully obliged. He dismissed Gayle cheaply twice in the last three encounters which doomed RCB. He regularly bowled in the first six powerplay overs and not only dismissed batsman but also checked the flow of runs. Suresh Raina also chipped in with his part time off spins.