Chennai Super Kings have stuttered in the final stages of the league, losing there of their last four matches. They have lost ground to Kings XI Punjab in the race for the top spot while allowing Kolkata Knights Rider and Rajasthan Royals to close the gap on them for second.
If the team doesn’t want to slide any further, here are four things they need to do better:
Take those sitters
MS Dhoni once famously said that only two out of Sachin, Sehwag and Gambhir could be in the playing XI as playing all three would affect the team’s fielding. If Dhoni can think of dropping them on the basis of fielding, there is no reason for Ashwin to take his place for granted.
Ashwin dropped a sitter of Robin Uthappa when he was on 6 and he want on to make 67 and put KKR in a winning position. In the previous match, Ashwin dropped AB de Villiers and then he played a match-winning innings. Ashwin is not only slow but also doesn’t possess a safe pair of hands. He needs to work hard on his fielding, as he is fast becoming a liability in the field. The Super Kings fielding coach needs to work hard on improving the catching skills of their bowlers as they can’t afford any more dropped catches. To this point, Super Kings have lost four matches and in all those matches they have dropped the player who went on to win the match for the opposition.
Push Dhoni up to No. 4 in the batting order
Dhoni is the greatest finisher the cricketing world has seen, so it’s apt that while chasing he comes lower down the order but there is no point coming down the order when batting first. In that scenario, Dhoni often ends up playing only 15-20 balls, which more often than not leaves Super Kings 15-20 runs short that could have been scored if Dhoni came to bat earlier. He is too good a batsman to be wasted down the order. Dhoni at number 4 will make sure the team doesn’t stagnate in the middle overs and give him a chance to finish the innings at the death.
Pace the middle overs better
Super Kings play too safe in the middle overs. Too often the team has a score of 60 or 70 for 2 from 10 overs or 90 to 105 for 3 in 15, then trusts the power hitters to score runs. The team has been able to pull of this strategy – their record speaks for itself – but it would ease the pressure t the end if they could score runs at good pace in middle overs. There is no point playing safe and saving wickets on good batting pitches when they have genuine batsmen all the way to No. 8. It is waste to have Mithun Manhas sitting in the dug out without having had a chance to bat. The kind of batsmen Super kings have, it is better to take some risks in the middle overs.
The fast bowlers need to develop variation
Super Kings’ pace trio had a very successful UAE stint but only Mohit Sharma has adapted to Indian conditions. There is no effort to bowl yorkers or slower ones. Length balls in Indian conditions just sail in to the crowd. Ben Hifenhaus and Ishwar Pandey need to work on variations to be potent in Indian conditions. Super Kings bowlers looked clueless when they were counter-attacked by Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, AB de Villiers and Robin Uthappa. There seemed to be no plan B to stop these onslaughts. They need prolonged sessions in the nets as the more you sweat in training; the less you bleed in battle.