Neither Chennai Super Kings nor its captain MS Dhoni and coach Stephan Fleming are known to panic or offer excuses in a crisis situation. Of course, this is not the first time that CSK has lost 5 matches out of 7 half-way through the tournament but they themselves are not in mood to take inspiration from their remarkable turnaround in 2010 when they were exactly in a similar situation and ended up winning the first IPL trophy.
But then, that was a different CSK than this one which is being referred as Dad’s Army for the last couple of seasons. Admirably, Dhoni and Fleming had defied all the logic in 2018 and 2019 by reaching back-to-back finals and winning one and losing the other by the narrowest of margins of 1 run.
However, even CSK has realised that they have stretched it a little too far.
“If you look at a couple of other factors, this one is an ageing team. Also, the conditions... the spinners at this stage are playing a small role but still not playing the substantial role we are used to,” said CSK head coach Fleming after the last match loss in his post-match press conference.
Not that their rival Sunrisers Hyderabad are going through a great run in this IPL. Historically, CSK have dominated in head-to-head (9 wins out of 13) encounters but their first face-off in the new season went in SRH’s favour.
That was a closely fought match when the Sunrisers somehow managed to script a seven-run win ten days ago. And, those two points have kept them above CSK in the points table when the first reverse fixture of IPL 2020 begins in Dubai on October 13.
“We just got to concentrate on those positives and work on some of the negatives and make it better in the next game, SRH coach Trevor Bayliss said optimistically in the post-match press conference after the shock defeat against Rajasthan Royals in their last match.
In Pics | IPL Orange Cap 2020: KL Rahul at the top with 387 runs
Dhoni not only losing matches but..
If fortune favours the brave then misfortune perhaps follows the weak, at least in this IPL. Often hailed as one of the luckiest captain apart from being very successful, Dhoni has simply been unlucky.
The campaign started with losing the most successful batsman Suresh Raina from the tournament and then one of the finest bowlers in IPL Harbhajan Singh.
If that was not bad enough then Dhoni has now lost five tosses in a row after winning the first two tosses in this tournament. If Dad’s Army won the trophy in 2018, toss also played its small part where winning percentage was nearly 69%.
“The other point is we’ve chased every game and the wickets are getting slower. It’s not easy, once you lose wickets,” said Fleming in the press conference.
However, SRH knows completely well that one more defeat against CSK will mean that their southern rival be at par with 6 points. Among other things, Dhoni would desperately want a favour when he goes for toss as conditions where batting first gives some advantage, CSK can think of setting a target for the first time after seven matches. Who knows that may change their luck and sluggish campaign!
Chennai Super Kings: 1 Shane Watson, 2 Faf du Plessis, 3 Ambati Rayudu, 4 N Jagadeesan, 5 MS Dhoni (capt), 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Sam Curran, 8 Dwayne Bravo, 9 Deepak Chahar, 10 Shardul Thakur 11 Karn Sharma
Likely XI Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 David Warner (capt), 2 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 3 Manish Pandey, 4 Kane Williamson, 5 Priyam Garg, 6 Vijay Shankar, 7 Abhishek Sharma, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Sandeep Sharma, 10 Basil Thampi, 11 T Natarajan
(Vimal Kumar has covered multiple cricket world cups and Rio Olympics in the last two decades. The author of Sachin: Cricketer Of The Century and The Cricket Fanatic’s Essential Guide can be reached @Vimalwa on Twitter) Follow Moneycontrol’s full coverage of IPL 2020 here