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HomeChennai Super KingsCSK strengths & weaknesses ahead of IPL 2018 playoffs

CSK strengths & weaknesses ahead of IPL 2018 playoffs

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

CSK Chennai Super Kings IPL 2018 Cricket Blog

Chennai Super Kings, one of the biggest T20 franchises in the world, have proven their worth yet again.

Speaking to some of their biggest fans before the tournament began, the general feeling was that they were just so happy to be back in the tournament. If they progress deep into the tournament, it’s a bonus.

After two years in the wilderness and boasting a squad of many players well into their 30s, it was a bit of a mystery as to how well they would do. Then, they were faced with having to move to Pune from Chennai due to political reasons, so again it was a mystery as to how they would cope.

Cope brilliantly they did. Led by their batting, they have sewn up a top two spot, and start as favourites against SRH in Mumbai, a team they have beaten twice in the tournament.

In this cricket opinion piece, I will explore their strengths and weaknesses, and look at five players who are key to their chances of winning the IPL 2018 tournament.

Strengths

Here, I will look at a couple of CSK’s biggest strengths that can lead them to the title.
Strength #1: The best batting team in the tournament

The demise of the likes of KXIP and RCB were on the back of relying too much on one or two players. RR faced the same issue, and just snuck into the playoffs thanks to RCB’s incompetence.
CSK don’t have this issue. They have a number of batsmen in their batting line up capable of taking opposition attacks apart, and even win from the dead as they showed in the early stages of the tournament.
CSK’s run rate of 8.89 is second only to bottom-placed DD (9.10), and their run rate of over 11 at the death can place shivers down the spine of any team.
Ambati Rayudu CSK IPL 2018 Cricket Blog
Ambati Rayudu has had a great tournament to date
Strength #2: An incredible leader, MS Dhoni. #thala

The return of CSK to IPL was always going to bring out the best in MS Dhoni. ‘Thala’ is always a step ahead of the game, who I describe as a tactical genius, the kind of captain who will never simply go through the motions.
MS Dhoni CSK IPL 2018 Cricket Blog
Would have loved to play cricket under MS Dhoni’s leadership!
In the playoffs, he will have his team well prepared, and on their toes right throughout the game (literally for Ravindra Jadeja)!
MS Dhoni’s call to send out Harbhajan Singh and Deepak Chahar at five and six against KXIP shows his unpredictability and that if he sees an opportunity to be innovative, he’ll take it.
MS Dhoni CSK IPL 2018 Cricket Blog
That’s right!

Weakness:

CSK are a good chance of winning the tournament, but they have aspects of their game that other teams can look to target.
Their bowling. How reliable is it?

In their defeat to RR, MS Dhoni just about wanted hit somebody. That is incredible for someone so cool.
CSK have conceded 8.89 an over throughout the tournament, including well over ten an over in the death overs. In the playoffs, they will be sure to face pressure moments with the ball, and it remains to be seen whether they can execute better than they have at stages throughout the tournament, such as vs RR recently.
However, the incredible return of 4/10 for Lungi Ngidi v KXIP gives CSK hope that he can lead the attack well, after concerns of a lack of pace bowling depth throughout the tournament. The improved bowling form of Ravindra Jadeja is encouraging, also.

Key players:

Ambati Rayudu: What a tournament Rayudu has had. Fourth highest run scorer in IPL 2018 with 586 runs at an avg. of 45.07 with SR of 153.40 suggests he is a very important player for CSK.
Suresh Raina: “Mr. IPL” has had a solid return to the beloved yellow. His 61* v KXIP was a fine knock which saw his team home. His experience is vital to CSK’s chances.
MS Dhoni: Of course, ‘Thala’ is a vital part of CSK’s chances. In addition to his wonderful leadership, he has had a superb season with the bat. 446 runs at 89.20 with nine not outs in 14 innings is simply magnificent. Dhoni will be ready to go in the playoffs, and CSK need him firing.
Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja: Dwayne Bravo, in my opinion, has been a little underwhelming in this tournament, especially with the ball. The first man ever to 400 T20 wickets, and considered a good death option for CSK before the tournament started, Bravo has gone for 10.15 an over. Ravindra Jadeja, though, has been in the wickets in recent games, along with a good economy. Both these two can give the CSK attack important balance and variety.

Verdict

CSK have the experience and leader to take them all the way.
I believe they are favourites to win the tournament. The Qualifier 1 match against SRH is key. If they can beat SRH for the third time in the tournament, it will go a long way to helping them lift the trophy, as they will have important days in between the matches to adequately recover for the final.
All to play for!
In the meantime, be sure to check out my piece on Sunrisers Hyderabad ahead of the playoffs!

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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