Chennai Super Kings shed off middle-overs slowdown to go big

Chennai Super Kings shed off middle-overs slowdown to go big

CHENNAI: After their heavy loss against Lucknow Super Giants last week, Chennai Super Kings skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad admitted that middle-overs slowdown cost them dear as the team fell short by about 10-15 runs.

"I know we finished off really well — couldn't have asked for more — but I think after the powerplay, we couldn't just kick-off from the start we got until the 14th or 15th over," Gaikwad had said. "We kept losing wickets at regular intervals. I think (we were) 10-15 runs short," he had added.

The five-time champions had scored 62 runs between 7 and 16 overs losing three wickets in Lucknow in the first leg match between the two teams.

Five out of those 10 overs were bowled by LSG's spinners Ravi Bishnoi and Krunal Pandya and they went for only 29 runs, In those overs, Pandya bowled Ajinkya Rahane for 36 off 24 balls and had CSK'S Impact Sub Sameer Rizvi stumped for 1. It was a cause of concern for the Chennai franchise and needed to be addressed as soon as possible.

Before the loss against Lucknow, CSK had defeated Mumbai Indians, their only away win from the four matches so far. What stood out in the win was the team's scoring rate between 7 to 16 overs wherein they scored 103 runs, losing two wickets. It was the only time CSK scored more than 100 runs in that period before Tuesday as the Gaikwad-led side improved their previous best by scoring 105 runs in the middle overs against the visiting LSG here at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

Centurion Gaikwad (unbeaten 108 off 60), along with power-hitter Shivam Dube (66 from 27 balls), played a big role in providing the momentum in the middle overs as they added 104 runs from 47 balls to help the home team post their highest score of the tournament so far, 210/4.

Among the top four sides of the tournament, second and third placed teams — Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively — have scored more than 100 runs from 7 to 16 overs thrice in their seven outings so far. This gave them a good chance to finish off well posting a formidable total against their opponents. Chennai followed the template on Tuesday as they shed off their sluggish start in the powerplay, where the team scored 49/2, to come down heavily on the Lucknow bowlers in the middle phrase of the innings. Such was the impact of the onslaught that Chennai easily crossed the 200-run mark in the end despite them scoring only 56 runs in the last four overs.

Chennai also lost only one wicket during the period, the minimum so far which in turn ensured that well-set batters stayed at the crease to up the ante in the death overs. Dube made the most of it in the 16th over when he slammed pacer Yash Thakur for three consecutive sixes to plunder 19 runs, which ultimately proved to be the most expensive over of the innings. Only against the Kolkata franchise, CSK had lost one wicket in the period. In their remaining matches, they had lost at least two wickets in that duration of the match making it almost impossible to accelerate the run rate.

One more area of concern for the CSK before Tuesday's match was their bowlers' show in the powerplay.

They had picked up three Bengaluru wickets and two against Gujarat but apart from that, they hadn't had much success.

It was addressed against LSG as Deepak Chahar struck in the first over before Mustafizur Rahman sent back skipper KL Rahul to deal a double blow to the visitors. For the record, the duo added 134 runs for the opening stand to make sure their team comfortably overhauled the 176-run target set by CSK in their first meeting.

CSK finally managed to address a couple of concerns which were ailing them they needed to work on their remaining flaws if they wish to defend their title.