IPL 2021: Reasons why CSK are performing this season
Chennai Super Kings endured a terrible IPL campaign in 2020. For the first time in IPL history, they failed to make it to the playoffs. However, the tables have turned for the Yellow Army this time. They are presently leading the points table with a Net Run Rate of +1.142. We take a look at the reasons why CSK are succeeding this season.
CSK lost their first match in IPL 2021 as they failed to defend 188 against Delhi Capitals. However, the MS Dhoni-led side bounced back in style, beating Punjab Kings by six wickets. The spinners took centre stage in the following match against Rajasthan Royals, guiding CSK to victory. Meanwhile, the 18-run victory over KKR took CSK to the top of the IPL 2021 standings.
The introduction of all-rounder Moeen Ali has bolstered CSK's batting. He is being used at number three by the franchise instead of Suresh Raina, who has also given a major boost this year. Moeen's quickfire cameos have benefited the CSK thus far. In four games, he has scored 25 (12), 26 (20), 46 (31), and 36 (24). Mooen has also contributed with four wickets.
Backing the players has always been the hallmark of CSK. Young Ruturaj Gaikwad's recent performance against KKR (64) is a testimony to this fact. Just like the previous season, Ruturaj has broken the deadlock after commencing his campaign poorly. And he has the in-form Faf du Plessis as his opening partner. Their partnership is reminiscent of the Watson-Rayudu stand that worked wonders in 2018.
More than anything, CSK have been able to get their team combination right. They have the required depth in the batting. The likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen, and Sam Curran are contributing in both the departments. Meanwhile, Deepak Chahar has scalped seven wickets at 11.86 in the powerplay. Lungi Ngidi is back in the XI, while Jason Behrendorff will be out of quarantine soon.
The leader of CSK's pack, Dhoni, drew criticism in 2020 for several reasons. However, he has improved in terms of fitness, while his astute on-field tactics have resurrected. He certainly didn't do much damage during his 8-ball 17 against KKR, but his desperation to bat might be alarming for RCB, whom CSK are facing next. Notably, Dhoni is the leading run-scorer against them (823).