SRH’s think-tank in conversation during a practice session ahead of their match against CSK. Courtesy: Twitter
Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will look to put their stuttering Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign back on track in their crucial match against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Tuesday after an utterly lacklustre first half of the league for the two-time-champions.
Chennai have garnered just four points after two wins from seven outings. The ageing MS Dhoni-led team are struggling to keep pace with much younger sides in the tournament.
However, they can well draw inspiration from their 2010 campaign when they were faced with a similar fate before a miraculous turnaround that saw them going on to take the top prize that year.
Chennai’s main bane in the tournament has been their batting. They lost three matches, which they could have easily won, and each time the culprit was their team’s woeful performances with the bat. Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis though are two of their batsmen who are in good form, but the others have let the side down, including the skipper himself.
Both Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav have failed miserably. Narayan Jagadeesan, who was brought into the squad to replace Jadhav after their loss to Kolkata, was nonetheless quite impressive against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
Jadhav played painstakingly slow, scoring at a snail’s pace as Chennai failed to go over the line in the chase against Kolkata, this despite having five wickets in hand. He scored 7 off 12 balls and in the end, Chennai lost the match by ten runs.
Though Rayudu has been among the runs, his strike rate is below par for T20. He scored a 27-ball 30 followed by 42 runs off 40 deliveries against Kolkata and Bangalore respectively.
Similarly, Dhoni too has not been able to deliver. Moreover, he has been accused of coming in to bat a tad too late or playing too slow as Chennai saw match after match drifting away.
Besides, Dhoni is also drawing flak for his leadership skills, a case in point being when he sent Jadhav in to bat during their chase against Kolkata even as an explosive all-rounder batsman like Dwayne Bravo was made to wait in the dugout.
“This one is an ageing team, the legs are getting a bit more tired, but we are working hard on that. We are certainly scrapping, trying to find a way,” said coach Stephen Fleming.
“So we’re looking for positive solutions. I want a bit more intensity through the middle overs. We’ve got plenty of batting. While we’re recovering pretty well we are just ending up with too much to do at the back,” he added.
Meanwhile, Hyderabad look in a slightly better position as they are on the fifth spot in the eight-team league, having procured six points from three wins in their seven outings.
Hyderabad are also struggling with their batting, which revolves around captain David Warner, Jonny Bairstow and Kane Williamson.
Manish Pandey did hit a fifty to herald his return to form but that was not enough to fetch Hyderabad a win against Rajasthan Royals, as he consumed too many deliveries, leading to Hyderabad managing only a sub-par 158/4.
Warner and Bairstow though are in the top five scorers with 275 and 257 runs from seven innings with two and three fifties coming from the two respectively.
In Rashid Khan, Hyderabad have another match-winner. The wily spinner’s tally has swelled to 11 wickets from seven games with two three-wicket hauls.
The match against Chennai promises to be a mid-table blockbuster clash and both teams would be trying hard to consolidate their position in the standings.
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