IPL 2019: Chennai Super Kings Season Review
Chennai Super Kings started off this tournament with most of the analysts having written them off due to visible numerous loopholes in the squad. However, the duo of MS Dhoni and Stephen Fleming has often made it a point to defy conventional cricketing wisdom and the current season was all about that.
Often being bogged down by a misfiring, fragile batting order, they still had a remarkable run in the tournament barring the mishap eventually. Here, I review their season as a whole through various pointers.
Find of the Season:
To be honest, it is somewhat difficult to find a young lad who stood out for the Super Kings this season. They have built their squad around some very experienced, level-headed individuals and back them to the core every time.
However, Deepak Chahar’s impressive performances continued this time around too as he opened the bowling with aplomb for the team. Much like leg-spinners, swing bowlers’ potential is also maximized by how their captain utilizes them. Dhoni had shown a great deal of faith in Chahar, and the pacer has repaid that with some consistent performances though at one point his season had seemed to derail for a while. Consider the final match for instance.
After being smacked for 20 runs in an over, any other captain would have tried to keep the bowler away from the attack for some time. Instead, Deepak Chahar was brought back into the attack only for him to snatch the most important wicket during the power play.
Imran Tahir concluded the season with 26 wickets to his name and was the go-to man for Dhoni whenever the captain required a wicket in the middle overs. The wily leggie used his experience amazingly well, deceiving the batsmen in the air, with his variations and came out good even in flat decks. However, the main man behind everything for the Chennai Super Kings was MS Dhoni, undoubtedly.
There was always a sense of serene calmness that encapsulated his presence, whether batting or whilst he was behind the stumps too. Due to one of the most brittle middle-orders in the tournament, Dhoni often walked in to bat in some very difficult situations during the match.
The way he absorbed the pressure that surrounded that juncture in the match and capitalized on the opposition’s drawbacks to seize the moment was a treat to watch. Chennai Super Kings wouldn’t have been half the team that they are in the absence of their enigmatic leader, and it was very obvious in the two matches that he sat out of due to injury and fever.
Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis justified the backing they got throughout the season by some commendable performances in the final two games of the season.
But the same cannot be said about the Indian batting trio of Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav. Raina though had a couple of half-centuries, but still was way too inconsistent to hold the batting order together.
Rayudu seems to have lost all the motivation and the touch that propelled him to national reckoning after last season’s IPL. Unnecessarily fishing a short delivery in the final, he literally played into Mitchell McClenaghan’s hands by trying to needlessly pull off a perfectly executed bouncer.
Kedar Jadhav’s presence was most felt in the physio’s room after the final league game, as until then, he hardly did anything notable on the field.
Though it eventually resulted in a defeat for the Super Kings, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s majestic innings against the Royal Challengers Bangalore was one to be remembered for the ages.
Coming out to bat with four wickets having fallen for less than 30 runs, he steered the chase so brilliantly that it is somewhat difficult to put it out accurately from a fan’s perspective.
The zestfulness with which he rejected taking singles with only ten deliveries remaining, and then pouncing upon Umesh Yadav to nearly chasing off 26 runs in the final over was merely a reflection of the tranquility and the confidence that he possesses in abundance.
Dhoni hinted at a major revamp in the post-match presentation, stating that they will have to get back to the drawing room and sort out the persistent issues that plagued them this season. Maybe an influx of some younger legs could help their case. There are some players who might just have played their last game in the Indian Premier League, and the Chennai Super Kings would have to replace them appropriately. With the think-tank and the management at their disposal, one can vouch for them to do that perfectly.
However, will their sailor; captain in-charge would be there on the field next April to oversee this transition period? ‘Hopefully, yes’ was his answer. One can only wait and watch out though because it’s MS Dhoni whom we are talking about here.