After their worst season last year in IPL 2020, where they finished outside the playoffs spot for the first time, Chennai Super Kings came back with a bang in IPL 2021. Chennai got an all-round squad this year and everyone performed across the board to help the team return to winning ways.
Chennai suffered last year with nobody from the top and middle-order getting runs but this year it has changed and runs have come after a bit of shuffling around and playing their big-money signing Moeen Ali at No.3. The Englishman’s arrival has aided Dhoni’s side really well as he has been able to score runs with the bat at the top of the order and provide crucial overs with the ball as well.
Before the tournament came to an abrupt end, Chennai played 7 matches, winning five and losing two matches and they have a net run-rate of +1.263. They are currently second in the table behind Delhi Capitals.
Chennai Super Kings squad: MS Dhoni (C), Suresh Raina, Narayan Jagadeesan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, KM Asif, Karn Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, Faf du Plessis, Shardul Thakur, Mitchell Santner, Dwayne Bravo, Lungi Ngidi, Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja, Imran Tahir, Robin Uthappa, Moeen Ali, K Gowtham, Cheteshwar Pujara, M.Harisankar Reddy, K.Bhagath Varma, C Hari Nishaanth, R Sai Kishore
Here is a SWOT analysis of the CSK team based on their performances in this year’s IPL so far.
FIRING TOP-ORDER: Faf du Plessis has been among the runs and has scored 320 runs from seven games at the top of the order. He has been well backed up by Ruturaj Gaikwad (196 runs) and Moeen (206 runs) at the top of the order. They have been backed on other instances by Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu in the middle and Sam Curran in the end when required.
BOWLING: While Chennai has had no runaway bowlers and a premium one at that. The likes of Deepak Chahar, Curran and Jadeja have all chipped in with wickets. They have taken eight, nine and six wickets respectively and have done the job well for Dhoni.
Chennai has had no weakness as such this year. The team has performed well overall and barring the presence of a major strike bowler, the Chennai team looks set for a good finish to the IPL and perhaps another trophy to their name.
RETURN TO PLAYOFFS SPOT: Following their disastrous season last year, Chennai could return to the playoffs once again and restore normalcy when the tournament resumes later in September.
DEEPAK CHAHAR: While he has been a regular in the India limited-overs squad lately, the availability of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami now could make sure he’s left out in favour of a T Natarajan. A good finish to the IPL could put him in contention for India’s World T20 squad.
PLAYERS BACKING OUT: Like most teams, Chennai could be without two of their major players in Moeen and Sam Curran missing because of the English board not granting NOCs to their players. The Englishmen have been pivotal to Chennai’s fortunes this year and going without them in the second half of the season could prove to be quite brutal.
IPL 2021 is scheduled to be played from September 19 to October 15 in the UAE. 31 matches will be played in total across 27 days.