IPL 2020: 3 things CSK must do to win their fourth title
- 3 factors CSK need to focus on to go all the way in IPL 2020.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have been the most consistent team in the Indian Premier League (IPL), but have not enjoyed the most success. They are the only side to have qualified for the playoffs in each and every edition they have featured in.
CSK are the second most successful team in the IPL, having won the tournament thrice -- 2010, 2011 and 2018. They hold the record for playing the most finals -- eight. However, they ended up losing five of those finals.
They began their IPL journey back in 2008, finishing runners-up to Rajasthan Royals. They were the semi-finalists in 2009, and after winning back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011, finished runners-up the next two years.
In 2014, CSK’s journey ended in the playoffs as they finished third. A year later, they again failed to lift the title despite making the final. They made a stunning comeback from a two-year ban by being crowned champions in 2018 before going down to rivals Mumbai Indians in a thrilling final last season.
Here are three factors CSK need to focus on to go all the way in IPL 2020.
#1 Win big moments, overcome mental block against Mumbai
CSK have made it to eight finals but have won the title just thrice, which means they are stumbling at the final hurdle and making mistakes at key moments in big games. This is something they will have to rectify if they want to be seen as on par with Mumbai Indians as the two best sides in the IPL.
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Taking a closer look at CSK’s losses in finals, we see that in 2008, the Royals won off the last ball. In 2012, they failed to defend 190 against KKR while in 2013 they stumbled in a chase of 149. In the 2015 final, again against Mumbai, their bowling totally fell apart as they conceded 202 bowling first. The CSK bowling attack was not weak by any stretch of the imagination as it consisted of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo.
Last year, they again succumbed to Mumbai in the final. In a pulsating encounter at Hyderabad, Chennai restricted Mumbai to 149, but fell one run short in the chase despite Shane Watson’s stupendous 80, batting with a bloodied knee.
It is clear that mistakes at significant times and their failure to get past Mumbai are the leading causes of Chennai's struggles. This is something they will need to address heading into the new season.
#2 Old warhorses must continue their charge
Despite being often described as Dad’s Army, CSK have stuck their heads out and firmly backed their aging warriors. This has worked for them year-after-year. The fact that they have made it past the league stage every season they have featured in is proof that their tried-and-tested formula is successful.
Chennai must stick to the same plan once again. It will be a difficult task as the players are a year older as compared to last year. Watson, the hero of IPL finals, is 38 while Imran Tahir, who won the Purple Cap last year with 26 wickets, is 40. The veterans have been retained based on their previous performances, but have little room for failure.
Taking one look at their batting department, it is clear that everyone apart from Ruturaj Gaikwad is above the age of 33. Suresh Raina is the youngest of the lot at 33, while Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav are 34, and Faf du Plessis 35.
Ultimately, what matters most is how the players perform on the field. However, if things go wrong, the age of the players might be questioned. In a nutshell, CSK are a double-edged sword.
#3 Dhoni the batsman, and Dhoni the captain
Speaking of age, CSK’s skipper MS Dhoni is 38. In his case though, age is just a number as he is still one of the fittest players in the business. However, it's his other skills that have come under the scanner of late.
Of late, Dhoni has struggled to rotate strike, and even his big hits are few and far between. His performance in the 2019 World Cup, his most recent international assignment, led to mixed reactions. While some praised Dhoni for playing with a cool head and taking on responsibility, others criticised him for being too slow and hampering the team’s rhythm.
CSK will want Dhoni to be at his attacking best with the willow as a restrained Dhoni will not be able to lead them to the title.
Moreover, his shrewd captaincy, which has been one of many reasons behind CSK’s consistent run in the IPL, will also be banked on this season.
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