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Csk In Great Form and leads the table in IPL


The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have been in awe-inspiring form in this edition’s Indian Premier League (IPL). Barring the Mumbai Indians (MI), no other franchise has been able to get the better of MS Dhoni and Co. The Yellow Army has won all their home matches at the Chepauk, their home ground and looks ominous for the opponents. CSK locked horns with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) who were the table- toppers and the Super Kings defeated them by seven wickets and moved to the top of the points table in this IPL. Their bowlers have arguably been the best in the tournament, especially the spinners, who have been hard to get away. In the batting department too, someone or the other have always put their hands up to take the team to a commanding position.

The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have been in awe-inspiring form in this edition’s Indian Premier League (IPL). Barring the Mumbai Indians (MI), no other franchise has been able to get the better of MS Dhoni and Co. The Yellow Army has won all their home matches at the Chepauk, their home ground and looks ominous for the opponents. CSK locked horns with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) who were the table- toppers and the Super Kings defeated them by seven wickets and moved to the top of the points table in this IPL. Their bowlers have arguably been the best in the tournament, especially the spinners, who have been hard to get away. In the batting department too, someone or the other have always put their hands up to take the team to a commanding position.

CSK have just found ways to win so far this season. Never mind the situation, conditions, or whatever has been thrown at them, they have had someone invariably stepping up to haul them out. The result: six wins in seven games as CSK sit atop the points table, merry. The experience in their ranks has held them in good stead and they've found ways of coming out on top in situations of strife, which is what Mike Hussey, the batting coach stressed - the capability of the CSK batsmen to be able to adjust and a solid game plan in place will have a bearing on how they fare.

A lot had been said before the start of last season about CSK having a squad full of players who were above 30 years old. The yellow brigade though made the naysayers eat a humble pie by winning the trophy in 2018 and are continuing in the same vein this season as well. While it was Bravo who had hit out after the age question was mentioned in a press conference, it is now the turn of the spin duo of Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir to respond in style. In a post-match chat after the win against KXIP, the duo called themselves ‘old’ but went on to say that ‘old is gold’. Both Harbhajan and Tahir have played crucial role with the ball for CSK so far. While Bhajji has picked up 5 wickets in 3 matches so far, Tahir has 7 wickets to his name from the first 5 matches. Both these men have bowled match winning spells and continue to be an asset for their team. Harbhajan was in top form as he picked up the crucial wicket of Chris Gayle and then also accounted for the talented Mayank Agarwal to set the platform for CSK’s victory.

Meanwhile CSK all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja reached the 100-wicket mark in the IPL against Rajasthan Royals. Jadeja is now the 13th bowler in IPL history and the first left-arm spinner to reach the landmark. His CSK teammates Dwayne Bravo (143) and Harabhajan Singh (141) are currently fourth and fifth in the alltime highest wicket-takers list. "I am very happy with all my numbers (100 IPL wickets). Happy with the way I am bowling. Overall, I'm enjoying my game - whether I'm playing ODIs or Tests. It feels great," Jadeja said. Jadeja was delighted to reach the milestone at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, where he had started his IPL career with Rajasthan Royals in 2008. "I started playing IPL from Rajasthan. Always wanted to play in front of this crowd. The crowd support was amazing when I was playing for Rajasthan," he added.

While Shane Watson has hardly been a shadow of himself from the PSL, he spent hours at the nets with inputs from batting coach Mike Hussey who told him to restrict his shots to the offside. Deepak Chahar has been MS Dhoni's go to man in the ongoing IPL and has delivered the goods for the CSK. The Rajasthan all-rounder has made sure that his captain Dhoni has his key bowlers ready for the middle overs by bowling his quota of four overs upfront while also being economical. The 26-year old currently has the second best bowling economy with 5.12 behind Sunrisers Hyderabad's Mohammed Nabi, who has bowled 10 overs less than Chahar. He had gone for 0-17, 0-20, in the first two matches on spinning turfs which allowed the spin partnership of Ravindra Jadeja and Imran Tahir to blow away the opposition. He is the key who has been used mostly in the powerplays, before using him in the death in the last couple of games, with the youngster rewarding their faith in him. His accuracy, control and ability to strike in the powerplay has held him in good stead.

Then there is always the CSK hero for the last 11 years – Captain and “Thala” Mahendra Singh Dhoni. This IPl is seeing a very different Dhoni. He is aggressive and occasionally expresses his emotions, mostly smiling and above all leads from the front. His batting is still international class and this season has been scoring his big shots very early in the innings with reduced dot balls in the beginning of his innings. His captaincy is the best in the world and still reads the game beautifully and employs the right bowlers at the right occasion. His wicket keeping skills are the best in the business still inspiring the youngsters with his effortless stumping and run outs.

Lagging behind CSK in the table after 7 matches are four teams – KKR, MI, DC and KXIP all with 8 points – 4 points below CSK. There have been some brilliant individual performances for those teams but not able to consistently find winning performances. For KKR it is the Andre Russell – who has scored 302 runs in 7 matches at a phenomenal strike rate of 213 and an average of 100. But his performance is not supported consistently by the rest of the team. For MI, it is Pandya and Pollard who keeps playing some cameo innings with a strike rate of over 180 but not consistently. For Delhi Capitals, It is a Dhawan, Pant and Shreyas Iyer show – unfortunately the three have not combined to score heavily to put opposition under pressure. For Kings XI Punjab, it is the Rahul and Gayle show – both scoring over 300 runs so far – not being supported by the bowlers with most having a very high economy rate.

RCB continue to wonder about their performance and position in IPL. They have the two players who are the best in the business – Kohli and deVilliers but in a team sport, you need all to contribute. They are again lacking some local batsmen and squad selection during auction continue to be a concern. Rajasthan Royals who slightly above RCB in the table are losing key moments of the game.


Sports News By

Srinivasan


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