IPL 2023: CSK starting to look like champion all over again

Beyond a doubt, CSK is starting to peak and has been in sublime form as it demonstrated against a spirited KKR


Leslie Wilson Jr

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Chennai Super Kings batter Ajinkya Rahane plays a shot. — PTI
Chennai Super Kings batter Ajinkya Rahane plays a shot. — PTI

Published: Mon 24 Apr 2023, 12:04 AM

How many more surprises are there in store for fans of the IPL?

Sunday’s match between former champions Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders added another startling chapter to the franchise-based Twenty20 tournament where the bat has been almost completely eclipsing the ball.

Asked to chase down a total of 235, the highest ever scored in T20 history at the venue, KKR, brave as they were, could only muster a total of 186 to lose by 49 runs.

Here are five scenarios that made the difference.

Prolific partnerships

Beyond a doubt, CSK is starting to peak and has been in sublime form as it demonstrated against a spirited KKR.

And like any team on the rise it has its batting planned to a tee. Three rock-solid partnerships, two of them featuring the hard-hitting Shivam Dube, enabled them to post a massive total of 235 for eight in 20 overs.

Ruturaj Gaikwad (35 off 20 deliveries) and Devon Conway (56 off 40) laid a strong foundation for the innings which allowed Ajinka Rahane (71 off 29) Dube (50 off 21) and Jadeja (18 off 8) to bat freely and set the tone for partnerships of 85, 85 and 38.

Rahane conundrum

If you ever imagined that there would come a time when batters would want to hit every ball they faced for a six, then Rahane provided a glimpse into that epoch with his 71-run carnage off just 29 deliveries that were garnished by 5 sixes and 6 fours.

And to think that he might not have even been in the side had a certain Ben Stokes been fit.

Given the form and attitude that the veteran Indian batsman has been portraying in the IPL CSK has a problem on its hands should Stokes regain fitness to make a comeback.

Sympathy for the bowlers

With the menacing form that most batters have displayed approaching the halfway stage of the IPL you can’t help but sympathize with the bowlers who have been at the wrong end of the stick.

Umesh Yadav, David Wiesse, Varun Chakravarthy, and Kulwant Khejroliya are by no means ordinary but they were made to look like club-level cricketers in the face of CSK’s authoritarian batsmen who pummeled 18 sixes, only three short of the 21 sixes record set by Royal Challengers Bangalore during the Chris Gayle era.

Lack of direction

KKR appeared to lack a game plan when it opted to bowl first. History may reveal that the team batting second at the Eden Gardens has won 47 matches against the side taking first strike (33 wins) but right from the early overs it looked like Chenna would continue their dominance of the home team where they have won 17 of 26 matches.

KKR needed to come up with an improved performance if they hoped to defeat a team high in confidence, but that did not materialize.

The lone takeaway

Even as KKR went home licking their wounds there was a little silver lining to their loss with Rinku Singh proving once again that he is the find of the tournament for the 2012-2014 champion.

The fearless middle-order batter stood tall amid the runs with an unbeaten 53 off 33 deliveries to take his tally for the tournament to 431 runs and counting.


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