Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has criticised the cautious batting approach followed by the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batsmen against the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in their IPL 2020 encounter yesterday.
He named this conservative approach as one of the main reasons for their defeat while reviewing the match in a video shared on his YouTube channel.
Aakash Chopra started by pointing out that CSK's dour batting led to their seventh IPL 2020 defeat, which has almost ruled them out of contention for a playoff spot.
"Chennai Express has now become a goods train. They went extremely slowly and were handed their 7th loss. There is a serious serious concern. It is almost over for Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings."
The reputed commentator observed that CSK are unlikely to qualify for the knockout stages even if they win their remaining four matches and reach the 14-point mark.
"It was a very important match with the tournament likely to be as good as over for whoever lost. Because from here you just have four matches remaining. Even if you win all of them, you will have 7 wins which means 14 points."
He reasoned that it would be difficult to catch the top three teams (Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore), with the fourth-placed Kolkata Knight Riders also looking likely to qualify.
"Earlier I was feeling that qualification might be possible with 14 points but now I feel it is tough because KKR is running ahead and it seems the top three teams will not be caught. So from here to qualify is going to be a bit of an issue."
Talking about the match, Aakash Chopra questioned the continued selection of Kedar Jadhav in the CSK team while lauding the inclusion of Josh Hazlewood.
"CSK won the toss and chose to bat which was the right decision. Playing Josh Hazlewood was very good and they played Piyush Chawla instead of Karn Sharma but Kedar Jadhav is still playing."
The former KKR player asked if CSK were playing the Maharashtra middle-order batsman only as an insurance in case of a batting collapse, which is unlikely to happen since the batsmen are not playing aggressively.
"I mean why is Kedar playing? I like Kedar but in this scheme of things, is he being played as an insurance. He is being sent lower down the order, so that if everything goes wrong then he will come. But everything will go wrong only if they play aggressively which is not happening."
Aakash Chopra mentioned that even Piyush Chawla would be able to do the job at the spot Jadhav is batting.
"Then why Kedar? The number at which Kedar is batting, even Piyush Chawla can come because he is not getting to face the deliveries. He didn't get to bat in the last match and he hardly got to bat in this match."
Aakash Chopra on CSK's batting effort in yesterday's encounter
"CSK did not get off to a good start. Faf got dismissed early although Sam Curran batted for a while. Kartik Tyagi sent back Watson."
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"After that Rayudu came and he was struggling with the two spinners keeping him in check. Dhoni tried that he will play the spinners quietly. Jadeja joined him with two leg-spinners bowling. Jaddu is batting well these days but he did not go after the leg-spinners at all."
Chopra mentioned that it could have been a tactic of the CSK batsmen not to go after the spinners, but observed that their batters couldn't dominate the Rajasthan Royals pacers as well.
"Probably it was a team plan that they will not be attacking the spinners but will be hitting the fast bowlers. But then Stokes came and they didn't attack him as well. And when the time came to hit, they were not able to strike the ball with the bat."
He added that the CSK innings seemed like a plane that failed to take off, as the 126-run target was never going to be a problem for the RR batsmen.
"And finally you reach a score of 125 runs in 20 overs with 5 wickets in hand. One can understand if you either get all out at 125 or reach 150 somehow but this looked like a plane on a runaway which never took off. This was never going to be enough."
Aakash Chopra signed off by stating that the current CSK unit is a poor reflection of a side that has dominated the IPL over the years.
"That is CSK's problem. It just did not look a side which has been such a successful side for so many years."
The CSK batsmen were kept under the cosh by Shreyas Gopal and Rahul Tewatia during the middle overs. The pair of leg-spinners just conceded 32 runs in the eight overs they bowled, with none of the CSK batsmen hitting even a single boundary against them.
As a result, CSK ended up with a below-par score of 125 runs, which was overhauled easily by the Rajasthan Royals after a few hiccups initially.
Published 20 Oct 2020, 12:07 IST