The year has been one of the most unusual ones. Without any doubt, the artificial crowd noises have helped the viewers to experience the best of the IPL. Another thing which has surprised everybody is the performance of the three-time champions, Chennai Super Kings (CSK). If you are not following this year’s IPL, well, you should have a look at the points table!
As per the head coach Fleming, they went into the auction keeping in mind the fact that most of their games will be played in Chennai. However, the pandemic ensured that the tournament got shifted to the UAE and the most experienced team are now struggling to find their right combination. This is a very unusual scene for a team like the Super Kings.
So, now the main question is, will they qualify for the playoffs? It seems unlikely though! And if they fail to do so, this will be the very first instance. However, they do have the players and firepower to do so, but the lack of ignition has hampered their chances.
Let us have a look at five major reasons why CSK might not make it to the playoffs:
1. Underperformance during the vital phases of the match
To win a match, a team must be alert and cash in during the vital phases. Well, this is where the Chennai Super Kings have choked. During their match against the Kolkata Knight Riders, they were off to a great start but Dhoni and the middle order were unable to rotate the strike regularly against the spinners.
Another instance where CSK could not keep it tight was in the game against the Rajasthan Royals. Even after making a comeback after Samson’s onslaught, Ngidi gave off 30 runs during a death over, which gave the Royals the upper hand in the second inning.
During the recently concluded match against RCB, the Chennai bowlers gave sixty-four runs in the final four overs and a slow middle-order ensured that CSK lost the match by a margin of 37 runs. So, it is not the case where they have been performing poorly throughout the inning, rather the three-time champions have been choking during the vital phases of the game.
With another seven matches left for the Chennai-based franchise, the future looks bleak with multiple failures during the first-half of the tournament, haunting the men in yellow. Let us see what changes Dhoni makes to inspire his team for the greatest turnaround in the history of the IPL!
2. No signing of new players after the departure if Raina
Throughout the years, CSK’s success was mostly dependent on Suresh Raina’s performances. And the southpaw never allowed the opposition to dominate during the middle overs. However, due to some unavoidable circumstances, Raina had to return to India. Now, with a weak middle order, things are not going according to the plan for the Super Kings.
CSK are well known for retaining their core over the years. Although this strategy has helped them to win over three IPL titles, this time, it has been the main reason for the failure. With the unavailability of Raina, the management could have looked for other middle-order batsmen. With T20 cricket being played regularly over the bilateral tours, it is extremely easy to find the new emerging stars of the shortest format of the game.
Now, the question arises, will CSK look out for the players who have played exceedingly well on the international platform, or will they continue with the same bunch of players who have not played proper cricket in the tournament? Looks like the team management has to make some decisions!
If we look back, the inclusion of Chris Gayle did wonders for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, maybe, with the inclusion of a stable middle-order batsman will turn the tables around. However, this seems improbable in the case of the Super Kings.
3. A weak middle-order
Yes, you read it right! CSK have been known for its strong middle order over the years. This year, if you look at the squad, you might be impressed with the big names like Dhoni, Rayudu, Curran, Kedar, Jadeja, and Bravo. However, all of them, except Jadeja and Curran, have been performing poorly. This has put them in a state of existential crisis. Adding on, the middle order has been consuming a lot of balls to settle in and is unable to take the team over the line.
Taking about finishing the game off, CSK’s middle order has rather finished the game for themselves. During their match against RR, lack of intent ensured that they lost the game and a late attack by Dhoni was of no use. Later on, slow running between the wickets meant that the ones were never converted to doubles. Adding on, Jadhav’s knock against KKR also ensured that they gave away an easy win.
With the second half of the tournament knocking on the door, the players have to pull up their socks up and ensure that they don’t give away the matches easily. Showing intent is a factor that can act as a catalyst for a team, taking them to success. Unfortunately, this team lacks intent. It is the CSK which comprise a weak and out-of-form middle-order. Dhoni has to inspire the team, urgently.
4. Lack of youngsters in the team
By the phrase “Lack of youngsters” we mean the Indian ones. Yes, this has been another factor that has helped DC to be at the top of the table. But, for the Super Kings, the story is different. There are almost four-five players under the age of twenty-five. Also, the bench strength of the team is relatively weak as compared to other franchises.
With Curran being one of the few players who have played exceedingly well, questions are being asked about the lack of youngsters in the squad. With the absence of Suresh Raina, CSK can aim to add a few youngsters in their team to ensure a comeback in the tournament. Now, it is up to Dhoni and management to take the call. A youngster who can bat or an all rounder who is in form can do the trick!
Teams having youngsters in their squads have done well but for CSK, it has been a matter of retaining their core over the years. So, it is highly unlikely that there might be any inclusion of a young all-rounder or batsman who can lift the morale of the team. This is one of the major reasons why CSK might be unable to qualify for the playoffs. Talking about the fans, they would love to see some new faces in the team.
5. Lack of intent
During their match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kevin Pietersen stated that “I don’t care who you are” when Ambati Rayudu was running significantly slower. This was a clear case of lack of intent. No doubt, this is one of the big reasons why CSK might miss the playoffs! The bowlers are unable to find any form of support from the middle-order batsmen and hence, any sort of score seems huge for the Chennai-based franchise.
Talking about intent, the only batsmen who have played up to the mark are Faf and Watson. Watson has played a few average knocks and a particularly good one against KXIP. Talking about Faf, he is one of the leading run-scorers. So, it is again the case of blocking too many deliveries and not rotating the strike too often by the batsmen down the order.
Even if they do not get off to a flying start, Watson and Faf have rarely got out blocking too many balls. But, if we talk about Dhoni, Jadhav, and Rayudu, they take too many balls to get in touch with the conditions and get out without making an impact. So, if they wish to perform a miracle, there needs to be a big change in their approach towards the game.
So, will we see a turn around this year? Or will the Super Kings continue their poor form? Only time will tell. Let us see how the three-time champions change their attitude towards the matches in this edition of the IPL.
~Written by Kumar Tatwamasi
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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