The 13th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) has begun in the Middle East, Dubai with each of the eight participating teams played at least 2 games or in case of some teams 3 games been played. In this blog, I as a Chennai Super King (CSK) fan trying to figure out what is going wrong with the team this year. They are missing a lot of key players in form of injury or due to personal reasons or not being to make up in the playing eleven. The team looks a bit incomplete on paper that even the midas touch of Captain Cool M.S. Dhoni is not able to hide this fact. Looking at the performance of the 3 games played by the team.
Here are some observations:-
1. The opening combination tried in all the matches hasn’t given them the ideal start, there is lack of fearless cricket as openers which the teams like Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Capital or even Royal Challengers Bangalore are able to do so.
2.CSK bowling seems to be an issue with bowlers being hit all over the park especially in a game in a small ground in Sharjah.
3. The middle order of the team looks weak on paper and no one is showing intention to have a go at the opposition bowlers.
Murli Vijay should be benched as we don’t find him as a T-20 player who can hit the ball well all over the ground. The Ideal pair can be Rayadu along with Shane Watson who have to be given the license to play carefree cricket. In the middle order, Faf Du Plessis is doing well at No.3 but needs backing of other players especially the middle order which looks very fragile when Suresh Raina is not present (still hoping he can come back), we saw Sam Curran used as a floater in the game against Mumbai Indians which worked but the same technique failed against Rajasthan Royals. M.S. Dhoni should be the no. 4 he should ideally be playing maximum balls as he takes time to set in before the launch and also sometimes makes other players around play with full liberty. Players like Kedar Jadhav should be made understand his role because if he is playing as a batsman even though he was an all-rounder in the squad. Ruturaj Gaikwad can be tried for few more games.
Chennai brings Dwayne Bravo back in the squad which means the problem of bowling the last overs of the innings could be sorted out as CSK is lacking the death bowlers at the end. Similarly, the multi talented all-rounder in form of Ravindra Jadeja is not also able to give his best in the tournament with gone for plenty of runs in the tournament and also not handy with the bat too in chasing the scores set by the option. With the arrival of Dwayne Bravo, Jadeja can come at number 5 or 6 and start playing attacking cricket to give CSK a good finish with bat in the end.
Piyush Chawla and Deepak Chahar are bowling well but the inclusion of Imran Tahir can help the CSK have some good middle overs with the ball, a tempalete which they followed for years when the tournament was played in India. Lungi Ngidi should be also dropped from the playing XI and Indian pace bowler in form of Shardul Thakur should play the game.
The game plan of CSK while batting of not starting to play care free cricket and having a good start needs to worked out before opposition make things tough for them. M. S Dhoni needs to show his old glimpses of coming to bat and go after the opposition bowlers right way. Sam Curran needs to be the next Bravo of the team and Bravo should repay the trust the team management keeps on him. There are still a lot of games which teams have to play and CSK can be the team to beat its opposition in the tournament to come.
The team combination could be in this manner for the upcoming matches.
Openers -Ambati Rayadu & Shane Watson.
Middle Order — Faf du Plessis, M.S. Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Sam Curran
Bowlers — Piyush Chawla, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakkur and Imran Tahir