The Chennai Super Kings suffered their second loss in three games in the Dream 11 IPL at the hands of the Delhi Capitals. The team have a six-day break before they face Sunrisers Hyderabad in the fourth game of their IPL season.
While it is too early for the Chennai franchise to push the panic button, they will be hoping to address some of the issues that have plagued them in their initial three encounters.
Gaining just two points from their first three games, the Chennai Super Kings are yet to set the tournament ablaze. The absence of Suresh Raina seems to have upset the famous balance of the Chennai franchise.
They will take on SRH in a South Indian derby on 2nd October in match number14 of IPL 2020. With the race for the play-offs well underway, Chennai will be desperate to return to winning ways.
Here are the three main concerns CSK will need to address before their match against SRH:
#1 A misfiring opening partnership
Shane Watson and Murali Vijay are not young campaigners by any means. They have a proven track record in the past and have delivered match-winning performances for CSK. In IPL 2020, so far, the opening partnership has posted underwhelming scores of 5, 56, and 23.
Among the duo, Murali Vijay is a bigger concern, having scored just 32 runs at a dismal strike rate of 74.41 in the first three matches. Shane Watson's tally of 51 at 121.42 is only marginally better than his opening partner. While MS Dhoni's batting position seems to be attracting all the media attention, their struggles at the top are equally worrying.
#2 The lack of a 6th bowling option
The Chennai Super Kings have used only five bowlers in each match so far. The concern is that one of their primary strike bowlers, Ravindra Jadeja, has been taken to the cleaners in all their matches.
Ravindra Jadeja had an exceptional IPL season with the ball in 2019. He picked up 15 wickets in 16 games with a miserly economy of 6.35. This was perhaps the reason Chennai expected him to finish his quota of four overs this season as well.
The fact that the IPL is taking place in the UAE meant that Ravindra Jadeja's left-arm spin was expected to be extremely effective.
In each of the three matches so far, Jadeja has conceded over 40 runs in his four overs. His current economy is an unflattering 10.50. CSK will now be looking at ways to incorporate a 6th bowler to provide them with more options.
Kedhar Jhadav has never bowled in his IPL career while Shane Watson appears to have transitioned into a specialist batsman. The Chennai Super Kings may be forced to drop a top-order batsman to incorporate an extra bowling option. Suresh Raina's absence is felt the most in this regard.
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#3 An inability to pick early wickets
In the first ten overs of all three games combined, CSK has only managed to bag three wickets. This has allowed opposition teams to build a solid base and accelerate at the back end of the innings. The Chennai Super Kings will need to look at ways to chip away at the opposition regularly in the first half of the innings.
The bowlers will have to modify their lines to play a more attacking brand of cricket. Another possible solution is to play the wily Imran Tahir. Imran Tahir was CSK's leading wicket-taker in IPL 2019, accounting for 26 scalps.
The slow pitches and long boundaries in the UAE will make the threat of Imran Tahir that much more potent. Tahir's inclusion might force CSK to make a few adjustments to their playing 11 but will be well worth the risk.
With IPL 2020 going ahead with full steam, the Chennai Super Kings have a lot to issues to address and not that much time to get things back on track.Published 26 Sep 2020, 17:32 IST