Franchise didn’t reinvent the wheel, but tweaks in the loft department have allowed them to stay one step ahead of the game
Published: October 15, 2021 7:37 AM |
Last updated: October 15, 2021 7:37 AM
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DC’s Rishabh Pant leaves the field of play after beating CSK. (Photo | AP)
CHENNAI: In 2018, winning the IPL title was almost like making fun of anyone who doubted it. The Chennai Super Kings entered the tournament after a two-year ban and were thwarted because they had chosen an experienced team. While everyone looked at the average age of the team and copied it after the auctions, Chennai supported the team they had put together. The age factor was something they were asked about every time they faced the press. What was not lost in all of their responses was that they accepted that field work would be a problem with an aging cadre.
With almost the same aging cadre with MS Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis and Ambati Rayudu who still form the core of the team, they are in the third final in four years and ninth overall. It is not an easy task. Especially in a tournament where there is no lack of quality. While the teams around them had the exuberance of youth and X-factor players, Chennai held on to support their process. There is no rocket science in the process and it just comes down to making the plans simple and easy to carry out.
In a world where most teams and captains bet on player matches powered by data analytics, her head coach Stephen believes Fleming didn’t care. If a reporter wants to base his story on it, Fleming doesn’t even see an advantage in it. In any case, he prefers to keep it simple. Pick a squad, assign each their role, and help them carry it out. While most teams would have viewed players with the wrong side of the 30s as a burden on the field, Chennai knew their experience will be more than practical in various situations. They are easy to question in the field. For a captain who preferred to bowl a spinner on power play, he rarely uses them. Since the end of the suspension, Harbhajan Singh has been the exception in Chepauk in 2019.
A drastic change that Chennai brought in 2021 after the low of 2020 was the hiring in their loft department. The greater depth has enabled them to attack at any time. The openers Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis have hit rates of 137.35 and 137.09, respectively. Moeen Ali, who usually beat 3rd place, beats at 133.33. Rayudu, the No. 4, scored 151.17 points. Dhoni’s strike rate of 106.54 is the lowest among those who have played at least 10 innings.
“We had to play a faster game, we had to develop if we weren’t in Chennai. And that’s what we’re trying to do; We’re far from the finished product, but we’re playing well at the moment, ”Fleming said. After identifying the brand of cricket they wanted to play, they stuck with it. The fact that they had a batsman in Moeen who plays spinners well meant that Chennai didn’t necessarily have to bet on Rayudu for big hits in the middle overs. They attacked relentlessly.
Now they are only one victory away from ending an era where they were among the best T20 teams in the world. Not many can keep up with their last appearances and a fourth title would be the perfect farewell for a team that has remained largely unchanged over the years. While Dhoni is still aiming to attract yellow as a player next season, it’s hard to see him captain beyond this season. Given that the upcoming auction is a mega auction, Chennai would like to identify a core group that would serve for another decade. They’ve been the most consistent for 12 seasons, and Dubai is set to be a perfect crowning moment for Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo, the ultimate super kings of the format.
After 2020 disappointment, Chennai Super Kings were expected to face difficulties as the major auctions were postponed. However, the team has put negative predictions aside to be back in the final, a place they have stood eight times before. A look at what made it click in 2021 …
Solidity at the highest level
7/1, 24/1, 25/1. After the first three games of the season, the temptation must have been great to drop Ruturaj Gaikwad. The scores of 5 (8), 5 (16), and 10 (13) were below average and meant they started their innings on the rear foot. However, they trusted the dates and remained true to the belief. Bottom line? Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis have become synonyms for a good start. Over the next 12 games, they teamed up for two 100-run grandstands, four partnerships over 50 and one over 40. That all of these grandstands came on time meant that the middle class had the license to go on.
Depth of field
When Gaikwad and Du Plessis failed, the franchise has relied on their ridiculous depth of field to dig them out of a hole. Keep this in mind – they haven’t lost a chase this season, and that’s largely thanks to that depth. It was MS Dhoni against Delhi Capitals in the first qualifying, Ambati Rayudu against Sunrisers Hyderabad a week earlier and Ravindra Jadeja against Kolkata Knight Riders three weeks ago. They have yet to be eliminated and have only lost eight or more wickets twice in 15 games.
All-round bowling performance
The franchise doesn’t have a single person in the top seven on the list of wicket takers. But this kind masks what their bowling line-up is about. There is not a single superstar, but a supporting cast that complements all other bowlers. Shardul Thakur (18 wickets), Dwayne Bravo (13), Deepak Chahar (13), Ravindra Jadeja (11), Sam Curran and Josh Hazlewood (9 each) and Moeen Ali (6) have all mixed in different variations, New-Ball -Wicket takers, spinners control and death over specialists.
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