Winner of IPL 2018 and finalists last year, Chennai Super Kings find themselves in the middle of a muddling campaign this season. From seven matches, MS Dhoni’s CSK have won just two, and a fifth loss – to Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday has dented their campaign big time. With 4 points, CSK are placed sixth on the points-table and if the team hopes to qualify for the Playoffs, now is crunch time.
Batting frailties have been a common pattern behind CSK’s defeat in the last two games. Against Kolkata Knight Riders, CSK, chasing 168, could not get the job done when the ball seemed to be in their court. Against RCB on Saturday, one again, the batting is what let them down, as all the team managed chasing 170 to win, was 132.
This was after CSK had let the game slip having RCB at 93/4. Virat Kohli and Shivam Dube added unbeaten 67 runs in just 5.3 overs with the RCB captain hitting an unbeaten 90 to lead his team’s charge. CSK went without a wicket in the last five overs, a fact that Dhoni rued, along with the team’s “lack of power” in the batting department.
“I think the last four overs when we were bowling, we just needed to close it nicely. Batting has been a bit of a worry and today also it was evident. We need to do something about it. I think we are better off playing the other way round, playing the bigger shots even if you get out. That is something we can do in the coming games,” Dhoni said after the match.
“I think it also depends on how you’ve performed so far in the tournament and our batting has lacked a bit of power from the sixth over onwards. Individuals can get tentative no matter how much confidence you give them. I feel that’s where we’ve not adapted or come up with plans against the bowlers who bowl from the 6th to the 14th over.”
In the past, CSK have turned the tables after an ordinary start to a season. In 2010, CSK won just two matches out of their first seven, but roared back to win the next four out of five and eventually took the title. That sort of turnaround is not an everyday affair for an IPL team and Dhoni believes in order to rectify the errors, it is important to spot and understand the loopholes that are hurting CSK.
“I always told the players to focus more on the process – when you start thinking about results of the previous game, you put a burden. With the bowling we’ve shown we can restrict the opposition. We’re either leaking at the start or in the last four. There are too many holes in the ship,” the CSK captain said.
“I think overall you have to look at the combination, how many spinners, the fast bowlers. There’s always one spot you can play around. We started with five bowlers, now we have six. But our main worry remains the batting department. In the coming games we’ll try to be more expressive. You rather get out in the 16th or 17th over.”