IPL 2020: Will CSK qualify for the playoffs

IPL 2020 became the second season scheduled to be fully played in the UAE, the first one being the 2009 edition played in South Africa. A cricket mania for two months in the Arab deserts. Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah were allocated as the designated venues for the sixty matches. The league stage is going on and we are in the latter half of the tournament. With the final to be scheduled on November 10, we review the performance of Chennai Super Kings.

IPL 2020 performance

Easily, the worst season for Chennai Super Kings since the inauguration in 2008. Previously they had reached the playoffs stage on each occasion but this time it looks impossible now. Some of the stats are:

Position on points table = 8

  • Win/Loss = 3/7
  • Points = 6
  • Match 1 to Match 10 = W L L L W L L W L L

Top 3 batsmen (Runs)

  • Faf du Plessis = 375
  • Shane Watson = 285
  • Ambati Rayudu = 250

Top 3 bowlers (Wickets)

  • Deepak Chahar = 10
  • Sam Curran = 10
  • Shardul Thakur = 9

Just three matches won in ten attempts. That is not Chennai Super Kings. Oh yes, it is. They have lost seven matches, their joint-most for any season.

A strange start to IPL 2020

Chennai Super Kings perhaps started their preparations earliest from all other teams. They held a five-day training camp in Chepauk in August. After arriving in the UAE, firstly their staff members and a couple of players were tested positive for the coronavirus. In the midst of the first halt, Suresh Raina had opted to withdraw from the tournament and left for India. Few days later, Harbhajan Singh also withdrew from the tournament citing personal reasons for the exclusion.

Previous IPL record

Chennai Super Kings are the only team to have played in the playoffs in each edition of the tournament except for the 2017 and 2018 edition when the team was suspended. Their previous IPL records are:

2008 – Runners up

2009 – Semifinal

2010 – Winner

2011- Winner

2012 – Runners up

2013 – Runners up

2014 – Third

2015 – Runners up

2016 – Suspended

2017 – Suspended

2018 – Winner

2019 – Runners up

The second-most successful team with three titles behind Mumbai Indians, the team who had beaten CSK last year to lift their fourth title.

What went wrong for CSK?

IPL 2020
Sam Curran had opened the innings for CSK this IPL

Chennai Super Kings started their IPL 2020 campaign with a five-wicket win over the defending champions Mumbai Indians in the IPL opener. But things didn’t go as they had planned. A string of losing started and they lost three matches in a row before winning their second match courtesy a 181-run opening wicket partnership between Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis. But then another array of defeats, two of them before a win and latest of the two defeats came on Monday when they registered the lowest first-innings score of the tournament in a seven-wicket loss against Rajasthan Royals.

Opening problems

The team couldn’t find its opening combination having tried so many in ten matches. Opting to go for Murali Vijay at the start and now trying with Sam Curran. And we don’t know what combination the team will try in their next match.

Shane Watson and Kedar Jadhav problem

IPL 2020
Shane Watson might be having his last IPL stint with CSK

Shane Watson is the second-most run-scorer for CSK with 285 runs but you don’t expect such numbers from your top-order batsmen and with such reputation. Performing on and off, Watson just couldn’t find his mojo in this season and it looks like that it might be the last season for him with the franchise or even in the IPL.

See also: Buttler 70*, spinners help RR climb up the table

The same goes for Kedar Jadhav. He scored just 62 runs in five innings in which he had batted. Not the runs you want from your middle-order batsmen. Striking at a very slow rate, Jadhav has just couldn’t find his gear this IPL.

Perfect XI

The team is yet to find its perfect combination. After five matches with two wins and three losses, the team still needed balance but they started to try different combinations and they still don’t know what their playing combination is. Losing matches never gives you confidence and you try different players.

Injury problems

CSK also had to cater to a few injury problems. Dwayne Bravo couldn’t start his IPL campaign from the start as he had a slight knee issue for which he was rested for the first three matches. He again picked up a groin injury in their ninth match because of which he didn’t bowl the last over thus Ravindra Jadeja conceded 17 runs in the last over eventually resulted in a defeat.

Ambati Rayudu who was the man of the match in the first match against Mumbai Indians was injured after that match. He missed three matches before coming into the team and afterward could not find his timing right.

What they can do in the remaining IPL 2020

IPL 2020
IPL 2020 might be ended for Dhoni and CSK

Well, win all the remaining four matches. That’s the best possible thing they can do. They had left matches against Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders, and Kings XI Punjab. If they win all of their remaining matches, they can reach a maximum of 14 points. Still, that might be not enough as other teams are sitting pretty comfortable at 10 and 12 points with five matches left for them.

As MS Dhoni also mentioned, the season is very much ended for them but they can still end the season on a high note by winning all of their remaining matches.