After their defeat to Kolkata and with only six matches left in the league, Chennai’s chances of moving further look slimmer than ever. The Super Kings are now ranked at number four after five wins and four losses from their 10 games — one of their matches was abandoned. The teams which rank lower than Chennai have all played a match or two less than them.
Chennai has won matches from tough situations. But while this is something to take pride from, this very fact also shows that they had allowed their opponents to come perilously close. If Chennai fails to make it to the next level, it will be the first time in the history of the Indian Premier League that it will happen. In all the four seasons so far, Chennai has at least made it to the semi-finals.
CSK is one of the few teams in the IPL which has maintained almost the same unit for the past five years. The same players have performed so consistently that they didn’t really feel the need to alter anything. The core members of the side are same this year again, yet the results haven’t been similar — reasons being the failure of some of their proven performers.
MS Dhoni – The Indian captain who also captains this IPL side has led the team to some memorable wins. Dhoni has been CSK’s go-to man in times of crisis. During that period in the first season when Hayden and a few more had to leave for national duty, it was largely Dhoni, Raina and Morkel’s performance that enabled Chennai to reach the final. Dhoni continued his fine show in the years that followed.
In 79 matches in the IPL Dhoni has scored 1,297 runs at 36.76. The average would have been much better if we weren’t to add his scores this year. From his 10 matches this season Dhoni has 166 runs at 27.66.
Subramaniam Badrinath – Often called the Indian Mike Hussey, Badrinath is one of the only two players from CSK to have played all their 82 IPL matches. This speaks a lot about his importance in the team. Badrinath was excellent against the rising deliveries in the season played in South Africa and was largely responsible for his team’s success there.
This season Badri has 147 runs from his 10 matches at 24.50 from the six innings in which he has come out to bat. This stands nowhere in comparison to his IPL career record of 1,368 runs at 30.40 with 12 fifties.
Suresh Raina – If you forget this season, Raina is undoubtedly the best IPL batsman as far as consistency is concerned. Raina has 2,281 runs from his 82 matches at 33.54, studded with 15 half-centuries. From his 10 matches this year, the left-hander has scored 197 runs at 21.88 with the highest score of 44. The top order surely has missed his services. A bit of support from him to du Plessis would have changed Chennai’s fortunes.
Ravichandran Ashwin – Ashwin’s accurate bowling had been a boon for Chennai as he could be used at any time during the game and still would have returned with same dividends. But things haven’t been same for the bowler ever since he has been drafted into the national team as the lead spinner. Call it pressure of whatever sort, it has evidently affected his performance. From the 10 matches this season, he has picked up only five wickets at an average of 43.80 and at an economy rate of 6.44. From his 50 IPL matches Ashwin has 58 wickets at 20.18.
Shadab Jakati – The lesser-known Goa player rose to stardom in the IPL after his consistency with the ball troubled many famed players of spin bowling in the world. Jakati forged a successful partnership with Ashwin and soon became a core member of the bowling unit. Despite the fact that, with his modest domestic record no selector might be watching him, it never seemed to ruffle his confidence. Jakati has managed 43 wickets from his 48 overall matches at 25.81 — the highlight being his performance in South Africa ’09 where he picked up 13 valuable batsmen. This year, from his eight matches Jakati has only four wickets at 35.75. His economy rate, this season, is a shocking 8.41.