CSK’s Top order revival

Introduction

The Chennai super kings find themselves in a much better situation this year compared to their campaign back in 2020. That was by far their worst performance in the history of their franchise. Bing a champion side we always expected them to bounce back, and have they bounce back or what? One of the key features which was missing in their campaign last year, was solid contributions at the top of the order. There were many situations where a lot had to be done by the middle order with very few resources available to them.

Gaikwad’s top order emergence in 2021

Ruturaj Gaikwad was one of the up-and-coming talents in their squad among all the experienced guys. He heads few bright sparkling performances in the 2020 campaign towards the end.

Gaikwad with SR of 135 in 2021 so far vs. 120 in 2020
Gaikwad with SR of 135 in 2021 so far vs. 120 in 2020

Opening the innings, gives him time to get used to conditions & bowling attack before expressing himself. This year in particular so far, he has put together some impactful performances at the top of the order. Let’s dissect closely on how he paces his innings as a comparison with what he did last year in the below visual.

Gaikwad's acceleration in 2nd Half of innings in 2021 has been outstanding compared to 2020
Gaikwad’s acceleration in 2nd Half of innings in 2021 has been outstanding compared to 2020

It clearly indicates that during the 2nd Half of the innings, he has faced more number of balls per Inn(on an average) but also he has been extremely attacking on the opposition with that impressive Strike rate so far in 2021. During the initial first phase of his innings, he has taken over a role of rotating strike in last couple of years, while his batting partners have injected momentum in their innings.

Moeen Ali’s CSK revival

Moeen Ali has been another valuable move into the CSK setup this year. He was established member of RCB in the previous few seasons. Being an All-rounder, he would by default add flexibility to the side. With England national team, he has usually batted towards the closing stages of an innings.

Moeen Ali's SR for CSK overall is 153 in 2021 so far
Moeen Ali’s SR for CSK overall is 153 in 2021 so far

However, in the IPL has got opportunities higher in the batting order, giving more time to be more impactful. This year he has been spectacular as No.3 batsmen for CSK. While his role in RCB batting more of no.5/6 (like his role in English side).

Below is how we dissecting his performances as a batsman who would largely bat in the middle stages of an T20 Innings as a comparison with RCB & CSK in the below visual.

Moeen Ali scores 21 per Inn in middle phase making him more impactful
Moeen Ali scores 21 per Inn in middle phase making him more impactful

It clearly depicts that fact that Moeen Ali, has been more impactful with CSK so far this season as his average runs per innings is much higher, inspite of scoring at the same pace which he was doing lower down for RCB. While there would be guys would be rotating strike, Moeen would inject momentum in a comparatively dull middle phase of the innings.

Faf Du Plessis’ Purple Patch

Faf Du Plessis has been a veteran for CSK. He has been part of their batting setup since 2012. He has particularly had a really good 2021 in t20’s. Since was one of the top performers in CPL this year as well.

Faf's having a brilliant 2021 in T20's
Faf’s having a brilliant 2021 in T20’s

While CSK was going through a slump at the top of the order in 2020, he was one shining light exception for them. It’s a shame that he has announced his retirement for South Africa, because he would be an asset in the upcoming t20 World Cup next month.

Below is how he has been performing since 2012 is Chennai super kings.

2020 & 2021 so far have been brilliant for CSK for FAF
2020 & 2021 so far have been brilliant for CSK for FAF

The spike in his performances in 2020 and 2021 is clearly visible with more runs per innings as well as a much higher strike rate at the top of the order.

Concluding thoughts

All the above batsmen have been complimenting each other quite well with either attack or defence throughout 2021. This has made the roll by the finishers Dhoni and Jadeja much clearer this season. Reputation of these performances in the next few games will guarantee them a place in the play-offs. This is a place where they have been very familiar with their history. Also check the below link of my previous post off the impact of Suresh Raina is return this season which has also played an equally important role for them.

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