Chahar swung the ball early on and was the perfect foil to CSK's battery of spinners. The seamer has 17 wickets in the season at an average of 25.17 and an economy of 7.57. He is the second highest wicket-taker for CSK so far has enjoyed his most fruitful season in the T20 league.
His previous best was 10 wickets in 2018 but this year, he has been as containing (economy almost in the same range as last year) while picking up wickets more regularly. A strike rate of 19.9 this year against 22.9 last year further implies Chahar's impact this season.
His bowling in the power-play has been most impressive. Of the 339 balls he has bowled this season, 270 have been inside the first six overs. It is clear how Dhoni sees Chahar and uses him. A swing bowler who can keep things tight early while picking up wickets in the power-play overs.
He has taken 13 of his 17 wickets in the first six overs at an economy lesser than his overall economy. A key to Chahar's game plan has been his ploy to choke batsmen for runs and invoke a false shot. Brilliant with his line and length, Chahar barely gifts anything to the batsmen and sticks to his channels even if he goes for runs. This forces the batsmen to commit a mistake.
Justifying this theory is his dot ball percentage. Chahar has bowled 163 dot balls this IPL, the most by any bowler and has a dot ball percentage of 48.08%. This means that nearly half of his deliveries are dot balls. By building pressure with these dots, Chahar evokes a mistake and eventually buys a wicket.
The ploy has worked so far this season and Chennai will want him to do again it in the next game they play against the winners of the Sunrisers Hyderabad - Delhi Capitals clash. A knockout game for CSK, they will bank on Chahar to give them the early breakthrough like he has so far.
First Published: May 8, 2019, 6:50 AM IST