On a flat Wankhede wicket, Chennai Super Kings overcame an MS Dhoni-shaped demon to annihilate Rajasthan by 45 runs and go second on the IPL 2021 points table. It was an out-and-out team effort from the Super Kings, who thrashed the Royals despite having no standout individual performance.
Where Chennai won the game
The double-wicket 12th over bowled by Ravindra Jadeja turned the game on its head. At 87/2 with a well-set Buttler threatening to go berserk, RR were well and truly in the game, but Jadeja’s double-strike pegged them back to a point of no return. The fragile middle-order got exposed and the lack of experience made the Royals hit the panic button.
Gaikwad is not just going through bad form, he is hurting CSK
Just when you thought Ruturaj Gaikwad couldn’t do worse than the 16-ball 5 he managed versus Punjab, the CSK opener, today, played an innings arguably as worse and more painful. On a belter of a Wankhede wicket, he ate up 13 deliveries to score just 10 runs, four off which came via an outside edge. It is evident that Gaikwad is going through an extremely lean patch. But his presence is hurting the side. To date, in IPL 2021, Gaikwad has faced 34 balls in the powerplay but has managed to score just 20 runs, striking all of two boundaries. He got away with his hideous knock versus Punjab because of a sub-110 target set by the Kings, but his side-hurting knock today at the Wankhede ensured CSK failed to cash in on the field restrictions and also accelerated Faf du Plessis’ dismissal owing to the South African being forced into taking more risks. Fleming lent his unwavering support to the youngster at the end of the Punjab clash, but, at the moment, there are no signs of Gaikwad turning his fortunes around.
Riyan Parag already showing signs of becoming a potential three-dimensional T20 superstar
Riyan Parag took three nonchalant catches today and that understandably caught the attention of the broadcasters. Be it with his celebration or through his catching, Parag loves to showboat. But don’t let these theatrics hinder you from noticing his actual cricketing talent, for the youngster, this season, has shown that he could turn into an absolute T20 superstar. First he blasted a 11-ball 25 versus Punjab in the first game and smashed all misconceptions about him being a ‘slow starter’. Mind you, only prior to the season he’d said in an interview to ESPNCricinfo that he hated being branded a slow-starter. Then Parag, who’d bowled handy leg-spin in the 2019 edition, displayed new skills with the ball, not just unleashing carrom ball-ish off-spin but also a slingy, Jadhav-esque side-armer, which has already caught many a batsman off guard. His fielding, as we saw with his direct hit off Pant in the previous game and his effortless catching today, is already world class. Here’s a young man, who at 19 years of age, is already reinventing himself and evolving with every passing season to keep up with the pace of the game. Parag might, at this point in time, be a very raw talent, but he is on the right path to becoming a three-dimensional T20 superstar.
Rajasthan are seriously over-estimating Shivam Dube’s batting ability
After questionably deploying Shivam Dube at #5 in each of the first two games, Rajasthan Royals went a step further and pushed the all-rounder to #4 today. Well, much to the dismay of the side, the result was no different. Dube once again failed to repay the trust and perished after scoring just 17 off the 20 balls he faced. But this was always coming. For Dube has never, ever been a middle-order batsman. His best knocks in the IPL - which can be counted with one hand - have come either as a finisher or a pinch hitter, and the Royals have simply over-estimated the Mumbaikar’s ability with the bat by deploying him as a specialist middle-order bat. Today, once again, barring a couple of strokes, he showed inability to rotate strike and looked at sea versus both quality pace and spin. That’s three auditions - on great batting wickets - failed. RR are shooting themselves on the foot by batting Dube at a position he’s not comfortable at, when there are better candidates waiting on the bench.
Hot take zone
MS Dhoni is the only factor holding this CSK batting unit back
At 125-5 after 14 overs, CSK were looking at 200, potentially 210, but then MS Dhoni happened. 0 0 0 0 0 1 was what his first six balls read after he walked into bat in the 15th over. The CSK skipper deliberately dead-batted the innocuous leg-spin of Rahul Tewatia and killed the team’s hopes of getting close to the 200-run mark. Last week we said that Dhoni the batsman could prove to be a headache for CSK, but now it’s evident: he is the weakest link in the line-up. The Dhoni of 2020 looked bad, but the Dhoni of 2021 looks like he should be nowhere near an IPL franchise. If CSK are to have any chance of winning the title this season, they should hope and pray that Dhoni plays fewer balls than any other batsman in the side, for he is the only factor holding this batting unit back.
Without an ounce of doubt, Sam Curran. 13(6) with the bat and a quite ridiculous new ball spell, which read 3-0-12-2. On a wicket where 220 looked par, Curran’s spell was goldust, not least because he also sent back the team’s best batsman, Sanju Samson, back to the pavilion.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Boring
CSK’s innings was filled with cameos but the contest turned one sided far too soon. Rajasthan showed no fight once Buttler was dismissed, and the last 7 overs became a mere formality. A very ordinary game on what was a brilliant T20 cricket.