Chennai Super Kings cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni plays a shot during the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL)
Chennai Super Kings cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The Chennai Super Kings are in urgent need of immediate repairs, if they are to be threat of bygone years while readying to face the Kings XI Punjab at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, on Sunday.

Yet again, CSK couldn’t deliver in their match against the Sunrisers Hyderabad as they went down by a mere seven runs, on Friday night.


At the root of the problem, perhaps, was that early exit from the tournament by ‘Mr IPL’ Suresh Raina. That was followed by at least a dozen of their staff testing positive for coronavirus, and the former three-time champions never looked the same.

In fact, things have gone from bad to worse for the Chennai Super Kings with one struggle leading onto another battle even though they started off with a convincing win against defending four-time champions Mumbai Indians in the tournament opener on September 19.

But, since then things have simply threatened to spin out of control with Raina’s replacement Ambati Rayudu getting injured and sitting out before making it into the squad against the Sunrisers on Friday.

However, the Hyderabad batsman couldn’t do much as CSK suffered a seven-run loss — the first time-ever since 2014 that the team from Chennai has lost three games in-a-row in the IPL.

The leader that he is, MS Dhoni has taken the blame on himself following their loss on Friday. “I was unable to middle a lot of deliveries, maybe trying to hit the ball too hard. Looking at the outfield, it was subconscious,” Dhoni admitted in his post-match remarks.

On Friday, chasing 164, Ravindra Jadeja (50 from 35 balls) and Dhoni finished (47 not out), CSK were unable to find their rhythm despite both batsmen crossing personal milestones with the bat.

Dhoni moved to the 4,500-run mark in the IPL and Jadeja has 2,000 under his belt, and yet their knocks were not sufficient to help them to two more points this season.

Quite often referred to as “Dad’s Army” due to the ageing players in the side, the CSK side always has the ability to rise to any challenge, provided they can handle the internal issue with their line-up.

The Kings XI Punjab have an equally arduous task after succumbing to a third loss this season after being beaten by defending champions Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi. And one aspect that cost the Punjab side dearly is the death bowling — the bowlers conceding a whopping 68 runs in the final four overs allowing Mumbai to hike their target.

The KXIP had suffered a similar fate against the Rajasthan Royals in their previous match, when their bowlers conceded 86 runs in the final few overs to end up on the losing side.

However, Simon ‘The Soldier’ Cottrell is optimistic that his team will get better as the tournament progresses and find a way to curb the flow of runs, especially at the death. “I have been working hard in training on my death bowling, along with all my bowling partners. I think we are getting there, we have been learning from our mistakes and practicing it on the training grounds,” Cottrell related on the team’s website.

“I’m sure that we are going to pull it off soon, it isn’t necessarily a worry. It is just a matter of time for us,” he added despite those two successive losses.

“It could have easily been three out of four games that we have won but unfortunately we have won only one. But I know that we will bounce back, we firmly believe that as one unit. We all have days like this but I know that we will bounce back,” Cottrell stressed.