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The holders are no longer the team to beat this IPL

india Updated: May 03, 2012 01:13 IST
Dipak Ragav

With more than half the season behind them, the two-time champions Chennai Super Kings have looked very fragile in their quest for a third successive title inspite of the wealth of talent the team possess. After ten games the team is fifth in the points table with just nine points. With a tight battle for the last two spots even a slight slip up could mean the defending champions giving up their title even before the play-offs begin.

From the first game against Mumbai, the team has been inconsistent with their performances and seems to be struggling strategically. Former India spinner Maninder Singh said, "One of the main problem that Chennai has is that Dhoni has not looked lively and looks fatigued and he is not able to lead his side properly."

Right from the first season, Chennai has been a team that has tried to outscore the opposition. In all their five losses this season their batting has let them down and especially against Mumbai and Delhi the team just did not get going and posted paltry totals that were chased down with ease.

For Chennai even after ten games into the tournament the batting order still seems to be a headache. The opening slot is a bit of bother with the team heavily dependent on Faf du Plesis as both Murali Vijay and S Badrinath has been struggling.

Middle order woes

But the biggest problem plaguing the team has been the middle order. With Suresh Raina struggling for runs, they are not able to get the right batsman at the right spots. Ravindra Jadeja who was bought by the team for a whopping two million dollar has hardly got the chance to show his mettle. In the ten games so far, Ravindra Jadeja has faced just 105 balls.

With six games to go, the team needs to pull up their socks and get the team combination proper and the arrival of Michael Hussey and Ben Hilfenhaus should help them out.

Maninder Singh said, "When the expirements don't work you need to get the basics right. With Raina not in form, Dhoni and Bravo should come up the order."

With Ben Hilfenhaus, Chennai will finally have a front line bowler who can replace Doug Bollinger. Hilfenhaus can be effective with the new ball and at the death.