Since 2019, IPL giants, the mighty Chennai Super Kings, have struggled to score adequate runs from overs one to six, thereby failing to make use of the fielding restrictions.
The powerplay overs are crucial in order to set the rhythm from a batting perspective, as ineffective utilization might lead to a batting collapse due to the soaked-up pressure on middle-order batsmen.
Chennai Super Kings’ powerplay crisis is advertently visible from the quadrant analysis. They have struggled to score runs and have faced too many dot balls in the powerplay when compared to other teams.
The Michael Hussey-Murali Vijay and Brendon McCullum-Dwayne Smith partnerships set the powerplay standards so high that opening batsmen now find it difficult to reach the heights of their predecessors. Now CSK play it safe in the powerplay overs and try to accelerate in the middle overs, and they do not risk clearing the infield and the boundaries scored are few and far between.
Strike Rotation: Runs scored per non-boundary ball. Used as a metric for running between the wickets. Say strike rotation is 0.3, the team/player scores 30 runs every 100 non-boundary balls faced.
The Super Kings, irrespective of chasing or setting a total, were 36/2 and 38/2 at the end of the powerplay on an average in seasons 2019 and 2020 respectively. The fundamental cause of failure to capitalize field restrictions was the slow batting rate of top-order batsmen including the likes of now-retired Shane Watson. Sam Curran opened the innings a few times in the previous season to see if they could overturn the situation, whilst it paid off when Ruturaj Gaikwad was brought in to fill the shoes of Watson.
Ideal opening pair for the 2021 season?
Thanks to the data obtained from T20 Database, two among the following batsmen have to open for Chennai Super Kings: Gaikwad, Faf Du Plessis, Curran; Robin Uthappa, Moeen Ali, Cheteshwar Pujara or Ambati Rayudu
It is likely that Hari Nishanth or Jagadeesan might also open a match or two at the extremity of the tournament given the latter’s spark in the recently concluded SMAT trophy.
Overwise strike rate of players in T20 competitions across the globe since 2019.
- Powerplay – overs 1-6
- Middle overs – overs 7-10
- Accelerating – overs 11-15
- Death – overs 16-20
Pujara hasn’t played twenty-over cricket since 2014; Rayudu takes a long time to settle when he opens the innings, which is the polarly opposite characteristic the team needs right now. He is a good sheet anchor and can be the Badrinath of the team.
Given Du Plessis’ experience and performance, while opening the innings, he must open at one end, although Rayudu is better at number four than opening. The number four position is open to debate depending on the situation. Du Plessis’ batting partner has to be either Moeen or Gaikwad.
Moeen and Du Plessis are the ideal opening batsmen whom CSK needs right now. They form a left- and right-handed duo which is an added advantage, whilst both are explosive batsmen who strike the ball cleanly. The odds of scoring a 15-ball 35 outweigh the fear of losing both their wickets in quick succession. If the situation demands an extra foreign bowler, then one of them can be rested making way to the youngster Gaikwad.