What has gone wrong with the defending champions Chennai Super Kings in the 15th edition of the IPL? The four times champions have lost their first three games - which is the first in the history of IPL.
Let’s try and analyze what mistakes have hurt the defending champions. First and foremost, MS Dhoni’s stepping down as captain and handing over the mantle to Ravindra Jadeja. For 14 seasons, someone as big who has captained the team and with success and Jadeja is bound to feel the pressure of getting into the big shoes of Dhoni.
Since he fields mainly in the deep which is outside the circle, he has not been able to call the shots and take decisive calls. The second game was in the pocket of Chennai when Lucknow needed 34 of the last two overs. The 19th over was given to Shivam Dube, who had not bowled in the match till then and went for 25 runs and Lucknow chased down the nine runs required in three balls and won the game.
The injury to Deepak Chahar has been the biggest setback for Chennai Super Kings, whose loss has been badly felt by the team. Mukesh Chaudhary, the left-arm pacer, has gone for 100 runs in his eight overs and picked just one wicket. Chahar’s biggest strength was to pick early wickets and Chennai have not been able to do that due to his absence. Chahar’s injury is a serious one and will need at least three weeks before he returns for Chennai to strengthen their bowling attack.
Their batting, barring the second game against Lucknow where they crossed 200, has gone haywire. In their opening game, they looked rusty against Kolkata Knight Riders and scored just 131 and in the last game against Punjab where they were chasing, they folded for just 126 in 18 overs and lost the game by 66 runs. The form of Ruturaj Gaikwad, the Orange Cap winner last season, has been hurting them badly and he has scores of 0, 1 and 1 till now and Chennai needs him to fire and come good to give them a flying start. The rest of the batters have also not been consistent and skipper Jadeja will have to be the same finisher as he has been in the past.
In the past, Chennai have made it to the play-offs inspite of winning just two of their first seven games but this time, the competition is far tougher and tight. Can Chennai come back from here? Only time will tell, but the task for the men in yellow is quite tough this time!
- Cricket enthusiast Anis Sajan is a Vice Chairman of Danube Group