Following a poor run in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 season, where Chennai Super Kings (CSK) finished at the seventh spot, the MS Dhoni-led side have restored parity and made a strong comeback of sorts in the ongoing season.
Asked to bat, CSK posted a mammoth total of 220/3 on board from the stipulated 20 overs, with former South Africa captain Faf du Plessis (95 not out) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (64) firing all cylinders for their side. Moeen Ali (25) and Dhoni (17) also chipped in with crucial cameos to guide CSK to a defendable total on a flat track at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Fast bowler Deepak Chahar was then on the money right from the word go as he returned figures of 4/29 to decimate the KKR top-order. West Indies swashbuckling batsman Andre Russell (54) and Australia bowling all-rounder Pat Cummins (66 not out), however, showed resilience after the early setbacks but failed to help KKR cross the line. The rejuvenated CSK side, thus, registered a 18-run victory which helped them top the table. Incidentally, the Chennai franchise, have the best Net Run Rate in the season as it stands at +1.107.
On the contrary, the loss, asked a few questions about the KKR line-up.
Eoin Morgan's captaincy
The Irishman was shown faith by the KKR management as Dinesh Karthik stepped down from his role to handover the captaincy to Morgan in the middle of the previous season. It was expected that Morgan would come out this season with an aggressive brand of captaincy and he did so leaving out Sunil Narine in the first few matches but on the whole it has not reflected on the result of the team. KKR find themselves at the sixth spot in the points table with a solitary win from four outings.
Poor show from bowlers
Barring mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy, all the bowlers in the KKR unit have toiled hard consistently in search of wickets. In fact, it looked like CSK are bowling on a different track altogether as Chahar picked up quick wickets at regular intervals.
Chakravarthy, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine picked up one wicket each against CSK but failed to keep the flow of runs in check. Morgan, interestingly, used six bowlers in the match but failed to get the desired result. Cummins conceded more than 50 runs from his stipulated four overs spell at an economy rate of 14.50.
It was a performance to forget for the KKR bowling unit.
Top-order lacking consistency
KKR opener Shubman Gill has been tasked to stick around as the second fiddle while his fellow opening partner Nitish Rana plays as the aggressor. Rahul Tripathi, meanwhile, is known for his one-dimensional play where he charges at the ball from the word go. Morgan can dictate the innings on his own while Narine has been tasked as the pinch-hitter.
Unfortunately, for KKR, the aforementioned lot struggled to score runs on a track where runs should have scored with ease. And if Russell and Cummins would have found support from the top-order, the knights, could have well crossovered the line to register a historic chase.
However, with the IPL 2021, still at its early stage KKR can still re-work on their strategies to remain in contention of reaching the playoffs as they have a formidable side on paper.