Chennai had already played two finals in the first three seasons of the IPL. While they lost the 2008 Final to Rajasthan Royals, they got their hands on the IPL trophy for the first time in 2010 when they beat Mumbai Indians by 22 runs in the Final.
Until 2011, no defending champion had never been able to reach the final of an IPL season, let alone win the trophy. CSK changed that.
Chennai had a stellar run in 2011, which commenced just a week after the World Cup had got over. They won nine games out of 14 and finished second on the points table with 18 points, and with the best net run rate in the league.
Beating Bangalore in Qualifier 1, they got a direct entry into the final, which was being played at their home fortress of Chepauk. They met RCB once again there on the night of the Final.
Electing to bat, Chennai put up a mammoth 205-5 on the board. Michael Hussey (63 in 45 balls) and M Vijay (95 in 52) registered a 159-run opening partnership.
Earlier that year, MS Dhoni had promoted himself in the World Cup final and was named Player of the Match for his outstanding innings. He did the same on the night of the IPL final, coming out to bat at No.3, and smashed two sixes in his 13-ball 22.
Since then, he has batted this high only once in the IPL.
Chennai famously opened their bowling with R Ashwin to counter the Chris Gayle threat, and the move worked immediately. Ashwin got the big man – whose 600 runs at a strike rate of over 180 had won him the Orange Cap – for a duck.
In the end, RCB got nowhere close to the target: they finished at 147-8. The 58-run win gave CSK their second consecutive IPL title, a feat since emulated only by Mumbai Indians, in 2019 and 2020.
Ashwin finished with 3-16 off his four overs – figures identical to his spell against the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2010 – while Vijay was awarded the Player of the Match.