Following a win in the tournament opener against Mumbai Indians, the Chennai Super Kings have not been able to carry their performance into the next to the game. As we advance, we will look at the problems CSK is facing in both departments.
Chennai Super Kings Bowling:
CSK have bowled first in all three matches and haven’t been able to pick up early wickets in any of them with wickets coming towards the end of the powerplay or after the powerplay. A reason behind the lack of early wickets could be due to the dip in the form of CSK’s new ball specialist, Deepak Chahar. They have also missed Jadeja’s control as he is still searching for form and accuracy, which he specializes in.
Despite the new ball’s lack of wickets, CSK has managed to slow things down in the middle order picking up many batsmen post the ten over mark. It was only against the Rajashtan Royals where the bowlers struggled in the death. That could partly be due to the number of no-balls bowled and the small boundaries. Barring that match, the bowlers have managed to fight back in the three games well to restrict their oppositions well below what they could have got at one stage of their innings.
Chennai Super Kings Batting:
CSK were hit by the loss of Suresh Raina at the start of the IPL. Though not the force he once was, Suresh Raina was crucial in CSK’s search for early momentum at the beginning of their innings as he managed to score at a brisk pace.
While his replacement in the eleven, Murali Vijay, is highly talented, he has not provided CSK good starts along with Shane Watson, who has also looked out of touch this season again. In all three matches, CSK had got of two slow starts, losing both openers early. In the first match Ambati Rayudu coming at number 3, was able to negate the absence of Suresh Raina with his superb 71.
His 71 was crucial as he had come in when the team was 6-2 and needed to rebuild. While rebuilding, he ensured CSK does not get too far behind the run rate and that, in the end, proved to be the deciding factor for CSK against Mumbai. Unfortunately, an injury had caused Rayudu to miss the next to games, which added to CSK’s batting troubles.
While they were chasing 217 against Rajasthan, Watson provided a decent start, but CSK could not keep the tempo up in the middle overs, leaving them with too much to do towards the end. Against the Capitals, they were going after a reasonable 176. They had gotten off to a slower start with their run rate below six throughout most of the innings.
As was the case in the first two games, it was Faf Du Plessis who anchored the innings, but the amount of time he took to get going, along with the lack of an aggressive batsman like Raina or Rayudu at the other end, hurt CSK as they couldn’t keep up with the asking rate. While Rayudu pushed CSK in the first game, the next two games saw CSK struggle to gather pace in the middle overs following their openers’ departure.
Along with the above points, there is also the Dhoni factor. He has been happy to promote Sam Curran and Gaikwad’s likes for quick scoring, which worked well in game one. Later in the innings, he doesn’t allow himself to steer the batting lineup that lacks its best batsmen.
Overall, the key factors affecting CSK are the opening pair, lack of an aggressor in the middle order, the middle order taking too long in the middle, and Dhoni coming in to bat too late.
Let’s hope CSK address these issues soon and come back strong.