Chennai Super Kings had their worst campaign in IPL 2021 failing to make the playoffs for the very first time in the tournament. They completely changed their fortunes this season with their batting the main differentiator. It was the reason that CSK won five of the seven matches they played in the competition. In fact, CSK gave the best batting performance amongst all teams this season even leaving their closest rivals - the Delhi Capitals who boasted of a formidable line-up - behind.
We look at some of the numbers for CSK’s remarkable batting transformation in IPL 2021.
1. THE BIG 180-PLUS TOTALS
CSK recorded as many as 5 180-plus totals this season. They scored in excess of 200 on two occasions and between 185 and 200 another three times batting first this season. They also chased down a target in the 170s with seven wickets in hand and nine deliveries to spare.
In contrast, the Capitals registered two totals in excess of 180 and were in a position to cross the total in two other matches (based on resources in hand) of a total of 8 matches they played in the tournament - which was one more than CSK’s 7. The Capitals also recorded one total each in the 130s, 140s and 150s.
2. A MORE COLLECTIVE BATTING EFFORT
CSK boasted of as many as 6 batsmen who had a total of in excess of 100 runs in the tournament - Faf du Plessis was the standout player with 320 runs from 7 innings at a strike rate of 145.45. Ruturaj Gaikwad was a good support act at the top of the order providing the platform for the middle order to put up the big totals. Moeen Ali was extremely consistent in producing the cameos from number three continuing the momentum in the middle overs while Ravindra Jadeja and Ambati Rayudu played their role as finishers coming up with one high impact performance each with the bat. There was only one big failure with the bat and that was Suresh Raina.
The Capitals were heavily dependent on their two formidable openers - Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw. The left-hander was the highest run-getter of IPL 2021 while Shaw was at number 4 and together they provided two century stands and three other fifty partnerships for their franchise. The Dhawan-Shaw partnership scored a whopping 54% of the total runs scored by the Capitals in this edition and although were outstanding, there was not much consistent contribution from the rest of the batting line-up. Only 4 DC batsmen scored in excess of 100. Steven Smith had an indifferent tournament and the great Australian could only muster 104 runs in 5 innings at a strike rate of barely 112. Rishabh Pant was not at his destructive best while Marcus Stoinis could not provide the cameos in the lower-order.
3. CSK SCORED AT A HIGH RATE
As many as 4 CSK batsmen (with a minimum of 100 runs) had a strike rate in excess of 145. In contrast, only Shaw had a strike rate of more than 145 for the Capitals. Overall, CSK had a strike rate of 150.31 whereas DC had a strike rate of 139.85 in the competition - which is a significant differential. Although both the teams recorded exactly 16 30-plus individual scores in the tournament, the difference was in the scoring rate. CSK recorded 11 of these scores at a strike rate of in excess of 150. The corresponding number for DC was 8.
4. LESS TOP-MIDDLE ORDER FAILURES
DC had as many as 14 failures with the bat of the top-middle order (recognized batsmen getting out for below 20 not including cameos). The corresponding number for CSK was 12. The CSK batting unit did not fail even in one match in the tournament. The top-order of the Capitals collapsed against the Royals.