The hope of a mid-season resurrection
As they always say, the form is temporary and class is permanent in the game of cricket, CSK came back to form and winning ways, and this time, it was a complete team effort as opposed to any individual brilliance. And being able to set a target for the first time this season, we did see some of the glimpses of the old CSK that we all have come to know off and sparking hopes for CSK fans, of mid-season turn around in fortune. Although the same can’t be said about SRH camp.
1. Change at the top of the order
Electing to bat first for the first time this season, CSK seemed to have made an inspired change at the top of the order by sending Sam Curran to open alongside Faf Duplessis. Curran’s batting ability was not put into much use before, so giving him an opportunity at the top was good to move and he gave them a decent start scoring 31 runs. Whether sending Du Plessis to open instead of Watson was a right move, could be debated, especially after a first-ball duck for Faf, his first in 6 years, after being starved of the strike for first two overs. Chennai seemed to have found a new option at the top to address their slow start issue, and pushing Du Plessis to the middle order could further strengthen the middle.
2. Was it the right combination for CSK
Chennai’s batting has been their Achilles heel this season, so it came as a surprise to see that they chose to drop Jagadeesan, who showed decent form last match, in favour of Piyush Chawla to give Dhoni 7 proper bowling options. It seems that they are showing more trust on their allrounders to deliver with both bat and ball, and they weren’t disappointed as both Jadeja and Curran came good with the bat, and bravo took 2 wickets to close out the match in the end. Jadeja’s form with the bat lately is a good sign for the CSK, and his finishing abilities have also been coming to the fore in recent times. Although the ploy of going in with just 4 specialist batsman needs to be looked at, especially with wickets becoming slower and slower, and scoring set to become harder as the tournament progresses.
3. Spin the way to go forward?
Spinners seem to be getting into their stride, with the pitches becoming slower and slower with each passing game, and that was evident from the last two matches, even in a stadium like Sharjah where spin wasn’t expected to do well because of small boundaries, but Sundar and Chahal getting 3 wickets in their 8 overs at 4 runs per over. Similarly, the CSK spinners were also impressive in this game, although the trio of Karn, Jaddu and Piyush went at 8 runs per over, which was mainly due to the dropped catch of Rashid of Karn Sharma in the 18th over. And with pitches bound to slow up and offer turn, CSK looks more potent as they have similar conditions to that at Chepauk, where they have had tremendous success, and for which conditions their squad was picked.
4. Failure at the top for SRH
It’s no secret that SRH is highly dependant on Warner and Bairstow to do most of their scoring. But this season, the pair doesn’t seem to be in such prolific form that they were in last season. This season they have scored 360 runs together as opening partners at an average of 45, whereas last year that average was almost 80 and the rate at which they scored was also much higher before. The other fact that off those 360 runs this season, 233 runs have come in just two matches, where their partnership scored 77 and 160 together, both games which the Sunriser’s won, shows that they have not been consistent enough for SRH’s liking.
5. Looking ahead for both the teams.
CSK and SRH have both played 8 games and have won three games each, and sit at 6th and 7th spots in the points table. SRH occupying the higher spot thanks to their better net run rate. But after this game, CSK should come out as the happier team, as this was a complete team win, where everybody contributed, unlike the opening stand blitz of Faf and Watson, and would hope to continue this form in the second half of the tournament. Things for SRH might be slightly trickier, as they are failing to come together as a team, and would need more impetus from their Indian players if they are to go deep into this current tournament.