An aggregate of 685 runs at a combined average of 20.76 and strike rate of 103.63. This is how poor the core of the CSK top and middle order, barring Faf du Plessis and MS Dhoni, have been in IPL 2019 – by far the worst amongst all the teams.
The quartet of Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav and Suresh Raina – have individually and collectively failed in the tournament, thus far.
The story was no different on Sunday (April 21st) in Bengaluru. Chasing RCB’s 161 for 7, CSK lost half their batsmen within the powerplay. It took a heroic one-man show by MS Dhoni (their best batsman and highest run-getter this season) to bring them back into the match and almost pull off a miraculous win – just failing at the last hurdle and going down by one run in a thriller.
Dhoni has time and again rescued the CSK innings and covered for the out of form top and middle order. Today was no different.
Shane Watson (5) and Suresh Raina (0) were sent packing by Dale Steyn in the very first over of the chase. Watson, one of CSK’s standout performers in the last edition, has been in dismal form this year. He has aggregated a total of just 147 runs in 10 innings at an average of 14.7 and strike rate of 112.21. He has not yet registered a single 50-plus score this year. He has the worst average amongst all batsmen with a minimum of 100 runs in IPL XII and was dismissed for his 5th single digit score this season – that is how poor he has been.
Raina hasn’t done much better either. In as many innings, he has scored 207 runs at an average of 23 and strike rate of 116.94. He has just one fifty to show for his efforts.
Du Plessis who has been the only batsman in form in the top order, had an off day facing as many as 8 dot balls before top-edging a pull shot off the bowling of Umesh Yadav for an uncharacteristic 5 off 15 deliveries – his lowest strike rate when he has faced a minimum of 15 deliveries in the IPL.
Yadav struck again in his next over – the sixth of the innings as Jadhav top-edged a cross batted heave to AB de Villiers at mid off. He was dismissed for a run a ball 9. Jadhav has scored just 145 runs in 9 innings at 20.71 at a strike rate of 98.63
CSK were reeling at 32 for 4 after the powerplay. They had played as many as 20 dot deliveries in this phase of play.
Rayudu tried to resurrect the innings with Dhoni but just when he was looking to threaten, was dismissed by Yuzvendra Chahal off the first ball of the 14th over for a run a ball 29. Rayudu was CSK’s highest scorer in the last edition. He has had a forgettable IPL this year with just 192 runs in 10 innings at an average of 24 and strike rate of 91.42, again with just one fifty to his credit.
CSK needed 79 off 41 deliveries at 11.56 runs per over when Rayudu was dismissed.
It was all Dhoni from thereon and he almost pulled off a sensational win despite little to no effort from his top and middle order.
Such was the hapless batting effort from CSK that only two other batsmen (apart from Dhoni) reached double figures – Rayudu and Ravindra Jadeja.
There have only been 9 50-plus partnerships by CSK this season – 6 of them involve Dhoni. Also only one of them involves neither Dhoni nor Du Plessis. This shows how bad it has been for the other CSK batsmen this year.
CSK are still table toppers despite the complete failure of most of their top and middle order.
They need to thank a certain MS and their bowling unit to still be in this position.