One of the finest fielders and southpaws to represent the Indian team, Suresh Raina on Tuesday (6 September) announced retirement from all forms of cricket. Although Raina last donned the Blue jersey in 2018, he still continued to feature in the Indian Premier League (IPL) since 2021. However, he went unsold in the 2022 auction, which forced him to take a sabbatical and ply his trade in other franchise T20 leagues. 

Throughout his IPL career since 2008, the 35-year-old served as the backbone of Chennai Super Kings (CSK). In this pursuit, he played a vital role in helping the franchise in lifting titles on four occasions in the tournament's history. Quite fondly known as 'Chinna Thala' by CSK fans, Raina amassed 5528 runs in 205 matches at an average of 30.30 and a strike rate of 136.76. 

Top 5 innings of Suresh Raina in IPL

1. 87 off 25 vs Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2014


Probably one of the greatest knocks played in the cash-rich T20 league, Raina was at his absolute best to hammer the Kings XI Punjab pacers in the Qualifiers of the IPL 2014.  Batting first, Punjab posted a mammoth total of 226, with Virender Sehwag slamming 122 off 58 balls. 

In response, CSK lost its key openers Faf du Plessis and Dwayne Smith early. However, Raina coming at number three set the tone by racing to a half-century in just 16 balls, with his blistering shots all over the park. Soon, he slammed four sixes and two maximums in a single over off Parwinder Awana to help the team in reaching a score of 100 in six overs.  However, he made his way back for 87 off 25 with unfortunate run-out dismissal, which also resulted in CSK losing by 24 runs. 

2. 100* off 53 against Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2013


Becoming the first Indian player to score a century across all three formats in 2010, Raina was still eluded from an IPL century until 2013, wherein he ended the drought. In Match 45 against KXIP, Raina coming at 27/1 in the fifth over helped the team to maintain a brisk rate. Despite the lack of support at other end, he increased the tempo with his immaculate ball-striking capabilities.

In the end, Raina remained unbeaten on 100* off 53, with seven fours and six sixes to pave way for CSK to post 186 on the board. In the second half, Punjab could score only 171, with contributions of Shaun Marsh (71) and lost by 15 runs.

3. 57* of 35 against Mumbai Indians in IPL 2011 Final


In the IPL 2011 final, CSK won the toss and opted to bat first. The openers Murali Vijay and Matthew Hayden could not provide them with a good start. However, it was Raina, who again donned the role of a number three batter to put momentum back on the side for CSK. His fourth wicket partnership with MS Dhoni amassed 62 runs in less than six overs.

Until the closure of the innings, Raina was not-out on a brisk 57* off 35, comprising of three fours and as many sixes and propelled CSK to a score of 168. In response, Mumbai could score 146 with the knock of Sachin Tendulkar (48), and CSK lifted their maiden IPL title.

4. 73* off 50 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in 1st Qualifier of IPL 2011


In a crucial Qualifier match of the 2011 edition, CSK invited Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to bat first. With a top knock of 70 off 44 balls by Virat Kohli, RCB managed to set a total of 176 for CSK. In response, the Dhoni-led side lost their openers, Vijay and Michael Hussey, early and was stuttering at 7/2 in the second over.

At this point, Raina arrived and displayed composure to negate the RCB bowlers well and stitched a 67-run stand with Subramaniam Badrinath. As Raina was steering the team at a lavish rate, he found support from MS Dhoni as well. Then, Raina (73* off 50) and Albie Morkel (28* off 10) produced a sensational victory for CSK to reach the finals.

5. 98 off 55 against Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2009


In Match 22 of IPL 2009 at Centurion against Rajasthan Royals, CSK were invited to bat first. This time around as well, CSK were off to a precarious start with the dismissals of their openers Parthiv Patel and tournament’s top-scorer Matthew Hayden. Coming at number three, Raina was flawless with his pick-up shots, especially towards the covers.

With support from Dhoni in the latter half, Raina slammed 98 off 55 balls, with 10 fours and five maximums to help CSK post 164. The 35-year-old also took a solitary wicket with the ball and Super Kings won the game by 38 runs.