Over the years Chennai Super Kings have been a smart batting side; a batting unit known for its clinical display and not run after flamboyance. The approach of keeping wickets intact in Powerplays and launch later in the innings has been successful for CSK more often than not.
The Super Kings have never depended on a single or couple of guys to take them over the line, it has always been a team effort (barring the 2019 season when MS Dhoni was fighting a lone battle). Going into the thirteenth edition of the IPL, the yellow brigade suffered a blow when Suresh Raina flew back to India due to personal reasons.
As we near the start of the tournament, we look at how the batsmen who will be representing CSK have performed in the past couple of years:
- Shane Watson leads the chart in terms of total runs, thanks to a scintillating 2018 season. He also has the highest strike rate and best boundary hitting frequency among batsmen having scored a minimum of 100 runs.
- MS Dhoni, despite batting mostly at 4 or below has the highest Runs per Innings. He scores more than 32 runs per innings on an average, followed by Faf du Plessis (31).
- Kedar Jadhav, except that one innings in 2018 against Mumbai Indians, has been below par for CSK. With Raina not available for this season, Kedar’s form will be crucial for CSK’s middle order batting.
Let us look at how each of them has performed against various kinds of bowlers:
- The overall performance has been superb against the right arm pacers. Almost every major batsman has the best strike rate against this kind of bowling.
- While Shane Watson has been terrific with his striking, he also gets dismissed too often.
- MS Dhoni absolutely loves the right arm pacers, having a strike rate of 145 and getting dismissed once in almost every 88 balls.
- The numbers do not look very different against left arm pacers too. The Super Kings batting has made merry whenever they have found the ball coming on to the bat well, except for Raina, who has a 120-ish strike rate and get dismissed once in every 19 balls.
- MS Dhoni has hammered the left arm pacers, scoring at a strike rate of 220.
- Rayudu has found it really easy to score as well as survive against the left arm pacers, scoring at a 140+ strike rate and getting dismissed once in 68 balls.
- Right-arm off-break, the style of bowling which troubles this famed batting lineup the most; none of them facing more than 20 balls have a strike rate above 120, except Watson, who also happens to get out once every 13 balls.
- While the likes of Dhoni and Rayudu find it tough to get going, they however do not get out to the off spinners easily.
- Among the major batsmen, Faf du Plessis has really struggled against the offies, with 15 balls per dismissal and a strike rate of 80.
- The impressive numbers by the offies might well due to the inclusion of Narine and Mujeeb, who aren’t traditional off-break bowlers, in the off-spinners category.
- Quite contrary to popular perception, the right handers dominated CSK batting has a very good strike rate against left-arm finger spinners. Among those who have faced atleast 20 balls, no one has a strike rate below 135 except skipper Dhoni.
- Despite the low strike rate, Dhoni remains the only batsmen not to get dismissed by left-arm orthodox spinners among those who have faced 20-plus balls.
- Shane Watson scores at a brisk pace but also gets out too often. He is someone who takes on any kind of bowling with ease, once he survives the powerplays.
- The most lethal weapons in IPL in recent years, as expected have troubled CSK much. None of them barring Watson has been able to take the attack to them, but Watson has also been dismissed too often.
- MS Dhoni has fared relatively better against wrist spinners than any other kind of spinners. He gets out once in every 41 balls and maintains a 120-plus strike rate.
- The likes of Rayudu and Faf have been able to survive the wrist spinners, but need to improve on their strike rate.
Overall, CSK have struggled against spin bowling, especially off-spin, and have made merry against the pacers. Their strategy of keeping wickets intact and launching at the death is a factor influencing these numbers.
Shane Watson’s impressive strike rate but below par dismissal rate is because of the fact that he either gets out early or makes you pay. The likes of Jadhav and Rayudu need to work on their strike rate to decrease the over-reliance on Dhoni in middle and death overs, because unlike Dhoni who starts slow and ups the ante later, Rayudu and Jadhav have not been able to convert their slow starts.