Chennai Super Kings is a supergiant and is one of the successful teams in the Indian Premier League. Chennai Super Kings have won IPL three times (in 2010, 2011, and 2018) and stand behind only Mumbai Indians who have won four times.
However, in this year IPL, Chennai Super Kings seem to be struggling with just 2 wins from 7 games. Currently, CSK stands at 7th position with 4 points and a negative run rate of -0.588.
So, here we look at the reason to know what has caused the CSK to struggle in this season of IPL.
Playing away from the home ground:
This year IPL was shifted to UAE amid Corona Virus pandemic and therefore, CSK had to let go out of their well known and preferred M. A. Chidambaram Stadium at Chennai. The team management and the players pretty much knew about the surface at the Chennai ground. So, the team picked to suit the surface at Chennai. However, in this IPL the three grounds have been used equally and CSK is finding it tough to adjust to cricket grounds in UAE.
Absence of Suresh Raina:
Suresh Raina had been a backbone in the CSK batting lineup batting at number 3 and providing useful knocks whenever CSK needed him to do that.
In 193 IPL matches, Raina has scored 5368 runs at an average of 33.34 runs with 1 hundred and 38 fifties.
However, Raina had to leave this year IPL citing personal reasons. Later Raina tweeted that his family had faced tragedy.
In the absence of Raina, the middle order has not looked great. In the opening game, the batting partnership of Ambati Rayadu and Faf du Plessis managed to win the match with 71 and 58* not out respectively.
Although Faf is having a great IPL this year with 307 runs to date, he has been asked to open with Murali Vijay being left out and Ambati Radayu after returning from injury not showing that spark. Similarly, the much expected Kedar Jadav who was supposed to be an integral part of this year CSK lineup has not been performing well.
Dhoni’s degrading batting form:
At 39 years of age, Dhoni is still the best wicketkeeper in India. However, lately, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s batting form is degrading. We all know what a great finisher and batsman Dhoni was but he has not been able to perform with the bat in the same manner and Dhoni would be the first person to agree to that.
In the first match against Mumbai Indians, Dhoni promoted Sam Currans and was not required to bat. In the second match against Rajasthan, chasing a score of 217 runs, Dhoni only managed to score 29*(17). Similarly, against Delhi, he only scored 15(12). He showed some sparks in the game against Sunrisers Hyderabad with 47* runs but was not able to win the match for them. Overall in 7 matches, Dhoni has scored 112 runs at an average of 37.33 and a best of 47* not out.
Lack of great opening fast bowlers:
The two most successful teams in this year IPL, Delhi, and Mumbai both have great fast bowlers and they are delivering for their teams. For Mumbai Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah have done a fine job and taken 11 wickets each. Similarly, for Delhi, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje have done equally great with 17 and 8 wickets each.
Chennai, on the other hand, has relied upon the medium pace of Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur. Deepak Chahar has played 7 games and taken 6 wickets while Shardul Thakur has played 4 matches and taken 7 wickets. While they haven’t been that bad, they also haven’t been destructive with the ball like Rabada and Boult have.
Dependency on ageing players:
Unlike other franchises, CSK has its core team which mostly consists of aging players. Openers Murali Vijay and Shane Watson are 36 and 39 years respectively. Mahendra Dhoni himself is 39 years. Dwayne Bravo is 36 years. Ambati Radayu is 34. With these aging, CSK has struggled to win matches.