Well, trust the process but only trust it to a level that it leads to success - Chennai Super Kings trusted the process so much and were engaged in it despite the results tumbling away. Their season was a dismal one, one that never seemingly took off until the last day against KXIP.
Have you ever watched a star-filled movie that had zero plots and just trusted the actors’ instinct and the theatre for a blockbuster? That’s in short how you could define Chennai Super Kings’ 2020 IPL season. Their star-actor, MS Dhoni, was the focus of all things, starting from the rumoured controversy with Suresh Raina till his ‘spark’ dialogue which was more hated than liked by the audience. Now for the plot, it could be defined as Faf du Plessis’ incredible opening and finishing act combined with Ambati Rayudu’s cameo and Sam Curran’s incredible batting form here and there before Ruturaj Gaikwad arrived in the final scene for all the applause. From the bowling front, there were spells of brilliance from Deepak Chahar, Curran and Shardul Thakur but none worthy. Oh, how can we forget Ravindra Jadeja’s new role, which was a brilliant sight but too late for the liking?
Sam Curran, at Rs 5.5 crore, was nothing short of a bargain - how could Kings XI Punjab leave him out of the picture after what he did for them in the last season? Whichever be the reason, the left-hander’s move to CSK was one of the stand-out performers for the franchise this year. At times the way he smacked the ball reminded the loyal fans of yesteryear star Albie Morkel, with him scoring 186 runs and taking 13 wickets in the season. While he couldn’t quite better his figures from last year, 186 runs, at an average of 23.25 and a strike-rate of 131.91, nevertheless, stood out, with him playing everywhere in the top seven. With the ball, the way he led the bowling attack, with 13 wickets for the franchise, at an average of 26.46, stood-out for the men in Yellow.
MS Dhoni - the skipper and the batsman, also the tactician!
The biggest antagonist this season for the Super Kings was their skipper MS Dhoni, who not only had the worst year from a captain point of view but also from his batting, which was a mere reflection of his best. In all, he could only score 200 runs, couldn’t motivate his team enough and had trusted the young ‘process’ and planning that led the franchise to seventh, which in all rights should have been eighth, because they were the worst team in the competition. In the first week, the fans wanted to see more of their skipper at the top of the order and towards the end, less of him, which in short, in a detailed manner, shows how bad a season it was for the right-hander, who is already 39. He has, however, already confirmed a sequel that will release in 2021.
Marks for direction - 4/10
The movie and the campaign, in equal measures, was Stephen Fleming’s mood throughout the season - one of dismay and anger. CSK’s worst season, where they finished seventh was all because of the ‘tactical’ decisions that they took through the season. Be it over-playing Murali Vijay as the opener, trusting Kedar Jadhav a bit too much in the middle-overs, employing Piyush Chawla as the lead spinner or dropping Imran Tahir to the bench. If you think that was it all, they played Ruturaj Gaikwad out of position, trusted Sam Curran, the all-rounder less and picked Shane Watson even when he was in his poorest form. So, Director Fleming, this movie of yours was a flop, what do you have in store for the future?
Faf du Plessis
Oh, the sweet South African at the age of 36 was the stand-out batsman for the franchise, even managing to stay foot-to-foot with the likes of KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan towards the end half of the tournament. The right-hander had his best IPL season in the Yellow jersey, with 449 runs at an average of 40.81 and an impressive strike-rate of 140.75. Combine that with his fielding and experience, you get a really good performer in Faf du Plessis.
204 runs in six games only paints half the picture, because Ruturaj Gaikwad was impressive when played in his role and position but looked out of sorts in the early part of the tournament. Why is he a hit then? Well, in CSK’s last three games, where they won all of them, the right-handed batsman at the age of 23 looked far more matured and impressive than all of them combined, scoring back-to-back half-centuries against RCB, KXIP and KKR. Not only that, his age too would give the franchise plenty of hope next season.
Well, because CSK's entire season was one big flop, we have played around with the 'misses' and have pointed out what they missed - literally.
The left-hander was a big, if not massive, miss for the franchise this season, with Raina’s experience generally being invaluable for the three-time IPL champions. Without him, CSK were already reduced to standing on their one leg, which in the end was too big an ask for the franchise despite boasting a plethora of big names in the squad. The left-hander has scored 5368 runs in the IPL and at a strike-rate of 137.14, which made CSK one of the strong teams in the tournament. Without him, they looked lost.
CSK spinners and Chepauk
Two things that are synonymous with CSK and their titles - their spinners and the unbreachable den of theirs, Chepauk. This season while they missed Chepauk, as the tournament was played in the Middle East, their spin-attack in the absence of veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh looked a sorry self of themselves. A combined tally of 20 wickets in comparison to 42 wickets from their pacers looks a sorry sight!
Oh, supporting actors, there were plenty of them in the Super Kings dugout but none more than Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ravindra Jadeja, who stood by the testing times during the season end. Jadeja, playing in a rather-new finisher role, scored 232 runs, at an average of 46.40 with a strike-rate of 171.85, and was a definite hit for the franchise. Gaikwad, on the other hand, was equally impressive at the top of the order, and after his duck against Mumbai was a definite match-winner for the franchise as the opener. Karn Sharma, when being introduced, looked equally good, with five wickets against his name in what was the franchise’s worst IPL season, so kudos to them for standing out.
Overall rating 3/10