Bouncing back strongly from their forgettable 2020 season in the UAE, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Thursday became the first team in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 to qualify for the playoffs. The three-time winners made the knockouts following their six-wicket win against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, their ninth for the season.
Chennai had finished seventh in the points table in IPL 2020, losing eight of their 14 league games. It was the first time that MS Dhoni's men failed to qualify for the playoffs in their 11-season appearance.
However, the Yellow Brigade bounced back in top-class fashion to make the knockouts for the 12th time in an IPL season, inching closer to their fourth title.
Chennai won nine of their 11 games in IPL 2021 to take their win percentage to 81.8 - the highest for any IPL team in any season. Subsequently, the loss for SRH implied a win percentage of just 18 - the fourth-lowest for any IPL team in any season. Chennai still have three games remaining this season.
Chennai's only two defeats came in against Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians, both in the first half of the season. On resumption of the season in the UAE, Chennai have won four in a row to make the playoffs.
The loss also implied that Sunrisers have officially been eliminated from the race to the playoffs.