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Why are CSK struggling and what changes can they make to turn it around?

Dhoni is feeling the heat. Pic Courtesy: Scroll.in
Dhoni is feeling the heat. Pic Courtesy: Scroll.in
ANALYST
Modified 05 Oct 2020, 17:16 IST
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The year 2020 is all about surprises and you can add CSK’s struggle in the IPL to that long list. The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) languish at the bottom of the points table after 2 weeks of action in the UAE.

After winning their first match on the opening day of the IPL against defending champions Mumbai Indians, CSK is yet to notch up another win and have now lost three consecutive games in the process.

One of the most successful and consistent teams in the history of IPL is struggling to figure out a winning formula so far in IPL 2020.

Here are some of the reasons for CSK’s rough start to the tournament.

Team combination

Imran Tahir
Imran Tahir's omission is surprising. Pic Courtesy: Gulf News

MS Dhoni is the kind of captain who doesn't like to tinker much with the playing XI during the tournament. There were as many as three changes for the game against SRH yesterday and that means the Men in Yellow have clearly got the personnel combination wrong in the first few games.

While CSK were hit hard even before the tournament started when their best batsman Suresh Raina withdrew due to personal reasons, they could have managed the season a little better with the available players.

It is surprising to see CSK’s most dangerous player and also the Purple Cap holder from last year warming the bench so far in IPL 2020. Leg spinner Imran Tahir hasn’t got a game in the tournament so far.

Too cautious at the start and middle overs

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Shane Watson has struggled to get going. Pic Courtesy: India TV News
Shane Watson has struggled to get going. Pic Courtesy: India TV News

Over the years, CSK’s strategy has been to preserve wickets and take the innings as deep as possible to allow the experienced players to close the game. This ploy has backfired in the form of three defeats in this year's IPL.

The openers and the top order have been too cautious without taking too many risks barring the South African Faf du Plessis. The acceleration has come a little too late in the games against the Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad, leaving the team with too much to do in the death overs.

To put things in perspective, CSK scored 43-1 during the middle overs (7-15) against SRH yesterday, which is the lowest in the IPL. They are the only side to get less than 50 runs in IPL 2020 so far.

So what can the Chennai Super Kings do to turn things around?

Change in team personnel

N Jagadeesan can be considered for the upcoming matches.
N Jagadeesan can be considered for the upcoming matches.
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MS Dhoni and the CSK think tank needs to look at making a few changes to the playing XI. They have to find a way to get Imran Tahir back in the mix because he is a wicket-taker during the middle overs.

The leg spinner can slot into the team by replacing Shane Watson, who is clearly struggling to get going in this year’s IPL. It won't be a bad thing for the big-built Australian to take a break for a few games and assess where he is going wrong and probably come back stronger during the business end of the tournament.

CSK should also consider Tamil Nadu’s aggressive wicket-keeper batsman N Jagadeesan, probably in the place of Kedhar Jadhav, who is not finding the right tempo in the middle order.

From Devdutt Padikkal to Ravi Bishnoi to Priyam Garg, this has been a good year for young, uncapped Indian players. CSK should look to quickly get this talented batsman into the side and hope he flourishes in the next game.

Change in the batting order

Sam Curran could be promoted in the batting order. Pic Courtesy: Sportstar
Sam Curran could be promoted in the batting order. Pic Courtesy: Sportstar
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While most teams are looking to make the most of the powerplay by using two aggressive openers, CSK has gone the other way by taking a cautious approach at the top. This strategy is undoubtedly not working at the moment.

CSK can look to open with Jagadeesan and du Plessis and give to the former the license to go after the bowling. The left-handed all-rounder Sam Curran, who is looking in great touch, can be sent up the order at No. 3 to inject some momentum into the innings followed by Ambati Rayudu at 4 and MS Dhoni at 5.

CSK can then bank on Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo to finish the innings with a flurry of boundaries.

Here is the suggested final XI that CSK can opt for in the upcoming games.

Faf du Plessis, N Jagadeesan, Sam Curran, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c &wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Shardul Thakur, and Imran Tahir.

Click here to find out who was IPL yesterday's match winner.

Published 03 Oct 2020, 16:47 IST
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