After the first match-first win start of their 2020 IPL season, it looked like Chennai Super Kings would be again making their way towards the playoff-like every year. But alas! The team got a first-hand experience of the lows of sports. A regular face of the playoffs right from the tournament’s inception, the 2020 season was a true horror in every right for men in yellow.
Barely missing the last spot on the points table, the ‘whistle podu’ squad found themselves in deep trouble in the 2020 season. In their entire history of existence in IPL had never missed the playoff place until 2020. So what exactly took place, and what may have been the reasons behind the poor show of CSK, let’s try to find out.
Faf, the only saving grace in batting for CSK
The fact that not a single CSK batter made to the top 10 most run-scoring list for the 2020 season should be enough to tell the story of why they found themselves at the bottom part of the points table. Except for Faf du Plessis, every CSK batter was struggling and, in general, showcased the lack of intent in their approach, which was reiterated by the team captain in the post-match conversations multiple times.
The late show by the young gun Ruturaj Gaikwad towards the end of the tournament gave some hope for the team to make it to the playoffs, but the tight competition spoiled the happy mood for the points of this particular season. The irregular performances by the top order, lack of a solid name in the middle order and the decline in the form of the big names like Watson and Dhoni just made the case because the team couldn’t keep up with the competition. Moreover, the team sorely missed the services of Suresh Raina and why the man is a crucial element for the CSK squad just got more underlined. Even though the man was not part of the tournament, Raina’s status got more elevated as the legend of the format.
The Dhoni Factor
Over the years, it’s been the trend that the team is bound to win the game whenever Dhoni has his day. And this has more or less been the case, especially for CSK. And this got highlighted for the CSK in the worst way possible. Unfortunately, Dhoni’s and the team’s worst-performing year came at the same time. With the lowest strike rate and batting average ever in his IPL career, the 2020 season was a nightmare for every Dhoni fan out there. One would say that age might have played the factor, but that too won’t be a reasonable justification considering that the previous season he scored the runs at an astonishing batting average of 83.2.
Like the batting unit, the team’s bowling department, too, was confused. After the auctions, the impression was that the spinners would take the lead for the team. But with the bizarre and continuously surprising team selections may have created an apparent lack of a prime bowler for the team. Sam Curran emerged as a significant wicket-taking option, but it was crystal clear that the proper bowling support required to win the matches was missing. As was the case with the top scorers’ list, the CSK bowlers, too, found themselves out of the top ten most wicket-takers list.
Of course, a forgettable 2020 season for the team, they still had some positives in the form of Ravindra Jadeja as a batter and the emergence of Sam Curran as an all-rounder. They also seem to have got an idea of the batting equations they successfully implemented in this year’s edition of the tournament. The return of Suresh Raina to the squad has been smooth, and the results have also shown that. With only two losses in their seven matches, they are currently on the number two spot on the points table, making everyone clear about their intentions of getting into the playoffs right from the start.
Moving forward to the incoming second half of 2021 IPL, CSK will undoubtedly keep in mind the wrongdoings of the last years and will be looking towards building a new winning streak for the playoffs.