Chennai Super Kings woes continued when they lost to Punjab, their sixth defeat in the Indian Premier League 2022, and now have to win all their remaining six games to have any chance of making it to the play-offs.

Yes, the defending champions are not in the best of form as a team but strange decisions taken by their new captain Ravindra Jadeja has added to their woes. Chennai had taken Michelle Santner in the XI and dropped Moeen Ali, who has looked out of touch. But Santner’s main role is to bowl and can be handy with the bat lower down the order.

Small target

The New Zealander had bowled beautifully against Mumbai and should have picked two wickets in his first over, that of Suryakumar Yadav and Dewald Brevis, but Chennai’s fielding let him down. The left-arm spinner bowled three overs for 18 runs picking up one wicket and, for some strange reason, did not bowl his fourth over despite maintaining a tight line and length. He was tried as a pinch-hitter at No 3 when Chennai were chasing a small target of 155, which did not click and Santner got out cheaply.

In the next game against Punjab, Santner bowled two tight overs for just eight runs and again mysteriously did not bowl again. Punjab ended up scoring 187 on the same wicket where Mumbai had struggled to score 155. And after the early fall of Robin Uthappa, what you see again is Santner walking in again at No 3 spot.

Big shoes to fill in

The Kiwi batter ended up eating 15 balls for just 9, which included a streaky four through the slips. By the time Santner got out, the powerplay was done and Chennai Super Kings were way behind with the run rate way above 11 runs per over. Ambati Rayudu did try his best, but the game was well beyond the reach of Chennai and even Mahendra Singh Dhoni could not finish the game and lost by 11 runs the end.

The captaincy burden has definitely taken a toll on Jadeja as his batting also gone missing. He has been trying to hit the ball too hard and, in doing so, not getting his timing or placement right. So far Jadeja has scored 112 runs with a strike rate of 122 and with ball has picked just five wickets from eight matches so far.

It’s definitely not easy to fill in the shoes of the great MSD and Jadeja is going through a torrid time as captain in his very first stint.