Languishing in the bottom half of the Indian Premier League (IPL) points table with just two wins and five losses, former India batsman-turned commentator, Aakash Chopra, believes Chennai Super Kings (CSK) may be staring at their first league-stage elimination in the history of the competition.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men have made it through to the playoffs in all seasons of the IPL so far, including three title-winning campaigns.
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And while their ability and neck of proving people wrong is unquestionable, they’ve perhaps never had all three of their departments struggling to this extent, raising doubts whether they’ll go the distance in the ongoing tournament in UAE.
Chopra spoke in the aftermath of the loss against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Dubai on Saturday (October 10) where familiar problems resurfaced for Dhoni’s team.
Their bowling attack conceded a total (169/4) above par for the conditions before their batting line-up once again looked seriously out of form in managing just 132/8 in response.
“Mahi’s Chennai, where do you go from here, it looks very very bleak. There was hope that CSK would do well as they are halfway through the season, playing their seventh match, and they had won only two,” Chopra said in a video shared on his YouTube channel.
“It means they would have to climb Mt. Everest to qualify for the playoffs. If they win six out of the remaining seven matches they will confirm their spot, and will have an outside chance if they win five. But do they have the ability to win five out of seven is the question that will be asked.”
“It was a total they could have chased, there was no turn on the pitch, the ball was coming nicely onto the bat but the way they have batted, it was the first time in the tournament that a team did not hit a single six in the first 15 overs.”
“It tells that it is not working out for CSK and that they are actually in dire straits right now,” he added.
After the defeat to RCB, Dhoni rued his team’s poor death bowling on the night and lack of urgency with the bat through the middle-overs when they batted.
“I think the last four overs when we were bowling, we just needed to close it nicely. Batting has been a bit of a worry and today also it was evident. We need to do something about it,” said the captain at the post-match presentation ceremony, as quoted by Cricbuzz.
“I think we are better off playing the other way round, playing the bigger shots even if you get out. That is something we can do in the coming games.”
“I think it also depends on how you’ve performed so far in the tournament and our batting has lacked a bit of power from the sixth over onwards.”
“Individuals can get tentative no matter how much confidence you give them. I feel that’s where we’ve not adapted or come up with plans against the bowlers who bowl from the 6th to the 14th over,” Dhoni added.