Chennai Super Kings, who were sitting at the top of the table after 11 games with 18 points with just two losses, have now lost their three games in a row to finish their league stage on second position behind Delhi Capitals - and it must be a matter of concern for the team going into play-offs.
One of the main reasons behind CSK doing so well in their first 11 games was because their openers were giving them a solid start and the likes of Moeen Ali and the rest were able to capitalize on that and put up good total. Faf Du Plessis has scored 546 runs and Ruturaj Gaikwad 533 runs so far and have set the tempo for the rest of the batsman to follow. But in the last two games, Gaikwad was fallen cheaply and so has Moeen.
Another concern was the batting form of Suresh Raina this season, who has just 160 runs in 12 innings - out of which 50 came in the first match of 2021 IPL but has looked out of sorts with scores of 4, 17, 11, 2 and 3 before being dropped and replaced by Robin Uthappa who too has failed in the two chances he has got. It needs to been seen whether CSK would call back on Raina or continue with Uthappa in the play-offs.
The biggest concern is the form of their captain who has scored 96 runs in 14 innings. Dhoni has not looked the same player he was for CSK in the last two years with the bat and all his fans are hoping that he will come good in the play-offs.
They will be playing Delhi Capitals in the first play-off on Sunday, who have beaten them twice in the league games and will have to up their ante if they want to have a direct passage to the final which is on October 15 at the iconic Dubai Cricket Stadium. In case they have another blip, they still have one more chance to play the Eliminator on October 13 but I am sure coach Stephen Fleming and the team would like to go with a win and break this jinx of three losses and be in the final for the fourth time - the most by a team out of which they have won three titles with the last of that wins coming in 2018.
- Cricket enthusiast and businessman Anis Sajan is Vice Chairman of Danube Group