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CSK for once has not been among the top four at the start of the IPL tournament. They have lost close matches, and failed to finish off games, despite having the world’s best finisher in captain-cum-keeper MS Dhoni. So, what ails CSK despite boasting of world’s legends in their squad? Is CSK a done force now, thanks to the ageing players?

Cricwizz takes a look at possible reasons for CSK surprisingly poor start to the tournament?

Failure to finish off games

If you consider the margin of defeat for CSK, it has been just a handful of runs – 16 runs against Rajasthan Royals, 7 runs against SRH, and 10 runs against KKR. It explains CSK’s waning finishing skills that were earlier the reason behind their success. 

Dhoni’s failure to finish off games

A lot of these close margin of losses could be attributed to MS Dhoni’s failure to take the team across the finish line as he used to undertake this responsibility in the previous IPL tournaments. Dhoni’s success or failure with the bat is directly proportional to CSK’s progress in the tournament. 

In the game against SRH, Dhoni was visibly struggling as age seems to be catching up on the veteran as CSK lost by 7 runs in the end, with the captain unbeaten on 47. It’s rare for Dhoni to remain unbeaten in a T20 game, and CSK to lose the match. Dhoni’s struggles are hampering the team’s chances in the tournament.

Carrying liabilities in the squad

CSK are carrying a few liabilities in the squad that are not helping the team’s cause. Until Shane Watson found form against Kings XI Punjab, he was proving to be a big liability for the team. But the fear of getting dropped made Watson perform and prove age is just a number. 

Murali Vijay (Image Credits: CricketAddictor)

But there are a few CSK players such as Kedar Jadhav and Murali Vijay who have passed their prime, and CSK are forced to carry them in the squad for lack of better alternatives. Jadhav is proving to be a real weakness for CSK after his 12-ball 7 not out against KKR that saw the team lose the match by just 10 runs. 

But CSK could just hope the ageing players shine as they don’t boast of quality players to replace these liabilities.

Questionable strategy

CSK have persisted with slow starts in the first few games, and they lost three out of the first four games. In a T20 game, slow starts are like a slow death, and it was no surprise CSK lost those games. But they changed the tactics in the fifth game when openers Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis went after the bowling from the start to put 181-run unbeaten partnership to take CSK to a 10-wicket win. 

Besides, their ploy to persist with Jadhav, and send him ahead of all-rounder Dwayne Bravo in the clash against KKR defies logic. It looks CSK’s strategy is failing to catch up with the changing dynamics of the game.

Lack of fresh legs

Those close losses are results of few extra runs conceded on the field due to ageing legs of CSK squad. Dhoni has in the past commented on how young legs could save those few valuable runs on the field, and make a difference in the end results. But he has not been blessed with young guns in the current squad, and that has hurt CSK’s chances in the tournament. But that is something CSK have to live with it until they go for an overhaul of their squad in the next season.

Cover Credits: IPLT20