CSK have never failed to qualify for the IPL playoffs. The absence of Suresh Raina seems to have caused a few problems for the squad, as they have seemed like pale shadows of their dominant selves.
But, no one can write off the three-time IPL champions. MS Dhoni is known for his finishing prowess, and CSK fans will be praying this reflects in the back end of the league. Before CSK square off against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), here is a look at three tactics CSK can explore to get their IPL 2020 campaign back on track:
3. Set a total rather than chase
It is no secret that teams batting first this IPL have experienced greater success. It is also evident that CSK have loved to chase in previous seasons.
CSK have also notably chased in all their matches so far in IPL 2020. Barring their 10-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab, CSK have not looked too comfortable while chasing this term. It has not been uncommon for chasing teams to crumble under pressure on the sluggish UAE pitches.
CSK opting to bat first, if given the chance, can provide CSK's batters an opportunity to score freely and express themselves better going forward.
2. Imran Tahir: Play or Trade
Imran Tahir was CSK's highest wicket-taker last season and is tailor-made for UAE pitches.
CSK generally do not like to make changes to their playing XI. Imran Tahir may deserve a shot, but CSK's foreign slots seem filled. The opening duo of Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson pick themselves while Sam Curran and Dwayne Bravo lend invaluable balance to the side.
There are other ways to utilize Imran Tahir's value. The mid-season trade window is open and Imran Tahir will be a welcome addition to any of the other seven sides. CSK can target a stable middle-order batsman in exchange to strengthen their lineup.
The obvious choice is DC's Ajinkya Rahane. DC has a stacked Indian contingent and although they may not be keen on letting Ajinkya Rahane go, Amit Mishra was recently ruled out due to injury. DC may be tempted for a like-for-like replacement in Imran Tahir.
1. Re-align the team's intent
After CSK's 37-run loss to RCB in its last IPL game, coach Stephen Fleming had this to say:
"If we don’t get a good start at the top with our two overseas players, we’re falling into a hole. So we’re looking for positive solutions. What I’d like is a little bit more intensity through the middle overs."
MS Dhoni too blamed CSK for getting complacent on the field. The commentators lambasted N Jagadeesan for not putting in a dive during his run-out. Ambati Rayudu also kept jogging and rotating strike when the asking rate was north of 15 per over.
Any number of rejigs will be futile if the players do not step up. CSK will need to examine the mindset within the camp. The yellow Lions need to come out all guns blazing if they hope to revive their floundering campaign.