Despite all the negative reaction they’ve attracted in recent times, there is no doubting the fact that Chennai Super Kings are the most consistent side in the Indian T20 league. There is a joke that they are brilliant at calculations. Whatever that may mean in a lighter sense, it also sums up their smart and calculative approach at everything - from chasing targets to selecting players at the auction table.
While their top players were retained this year, they bought two players with distinct styles – Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum, the duo costing the franchise just under R8 crore. The deal was a runaway success as seen by the fact that the two are No. 2 and 3 on the run-getters’ list this season, only behind Kings XI Punjab’s Glenn Maxwell.
Together, they have scored well over 50% of what their team has got in the tournament so far, and of course they are the main reason why their franchise is at the top of the points table.
Business as usual
So, when they opened the innings in the face of a stiff 179-run target set by the Delhi Daredevils at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Monday, there seemed no urgency or nerves. They seemed to know exactly what they were doing as they went about milking the bowling, putting on 82 in just over 11 overs.
Just a day earlier, CSK coach Stephen Fleming had pointed out how happy he was with the selections. The kind of explosive batting strength CSK possess means high asking rates don’t become a worry.
No wonder, even after McCullum departed, the barrage of runs continued from the blades of Smith and Suresh Raina as an asking rate of about 11 was easily tamed with CSK extending their lead at the top of the table.
Some early fight
While the duo has been a smashing success, one of CSK’s openers from last year, Murali Vijay, finally came good against his old team and stitched a 70-odd run partnership with Tamil Nadu team mate Dinesh Karthik. Thanks to them, and some solid pinch-hitting from JP Duminy and Kedar Jadhav once again, the hosts reached 178 as CSK’s man with the golden arm, Mohit Sharma, flopped with fellow paceman Ishwar Pandey too leaking runs.
Of course, one can afford such expensive bowling days if one is facing the Delhi Daredevils’ bowling line-up. Not just uninspiring, the Delhi set-up also lacks a bowler who can win matches. While their recent purchase, South Africa leg-spinner Imran Tahir is still nowhere in sight, their most economical bowler, left-arm pacer Wayne Parnell, doesn’t have much bite. And Chennai is not a team that would let slip such a golden opportunity.