What's left for CSK and MS Dhoni in IPL 2020?
Chennai Super Kings suffered their eighth defeat of the season, as they stay at the bottom of the table. They have managed to win just three matches so far, and would desperately need wins in the remaining three, to stand a chance to make it to the playoffs.
The horror season that former champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are undergoing this season, saw no signs of slowing down, as they suffered a yet another embarrassing defeat. In Match 41 of the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL), CSK were mauled by defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI), who crushed them by 10 wickets in Sharjah.
Consequently, the defeat has left CSK reeling at the bottom of the table. Meanwhile, with just three matches to go, the side would not only need wins in those matches but also pray that the teams above them suffer losses, in order to make a clear way for them to the playoffs.
However, do they have a realistic chance of making it to the playoffs? While the fans would certainly hope so and pray hard that MS Dhoni and co qualify, owing to some miracle, here's what the skipper himself had to say.
"Well, it does hurt and what you need to see is what are the things that are going wrong. And, especially this year hasn't really been our year and everything apart from one or two games, where we have batted and bowled well together and fielded well together…So, at the end of the day, whether you lose by eight wickets or ten wickets, it hardly matters. Where we are in the state of the tournament, it will definitely hurt and I think all the players are hurting, and they're trying their best. It doesn't always go your way, but hopefully, in the next three games, we will try to maybe put our last stand," said Dhoni to Star Sports following the loss.
Speaking on the changes in the squad, along with the players not rising to the occasions, Dhoni said, "Again, what you need to see is where you again went wrong. I felt the second game [against the Rajasthan Royals] was more about the bowling; batting wasn't turning up, and Rayudu got injured. Some of the other players got a chance and maybe, they were not there 200%, or maybe, they were not able to perform. It just kept on putting pressure on the batting order and whenever we never got off to a good start, it became more and more difficult for the middle-order."
"In cricket, when you're going through a tough phase, there are a few things that need to go your way - a bit of luck is always good and I felt in this tournament it hasn't really gone our way. The games where we wanted to bat first, we haven't really won the toss and in games batting second, the wicket has slowed down or there may be dew. All of [a] sudden, then we decide to bat first and there's a lot of dew on the field. If things have not gone your way, those are the things that you study and see what you can provide the players for them to perform," he added.
On being asked that if playing in UAE turned out to be a bane for them, Dhoni said that it was one of the 100 reasons they have failed. "Whenever you're not doing well, there can be hundred reasons, especially if you sit and pick up the reasons, as to why we're not doing well. But, the main thing you ask yourself or as a team is whether you're playing to the potential that you've got. Like, say, whatever the conditions maybe, when you put up a playing XI that looks good on paper, have they done enough to translating that good stats that they've got onto the field? I think this year, we've not done that and cumulatively, when three or four of your batsmen aren't doing well in the batting order, it becomes more and more difficult," he confessed.
Meantime, Dhoni is already shifting his focus to the next edition, which could be played within five-six months from now. "It is important for us have a clear picture about next year. There are a lot of ifs and buts: the kind of auction we are looking into next year, where the venues will be. It is always good to give guys who have not, so far, got enough chances to form a settled playing XI. You give them enough chances to really give them a platform where they can perform and show their talent," he wondered.
As for their next game against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Sunday, Dhoni said that chances would be given to Mitchell Santner, along with KM Asif and R Sai Kishore. "So, the coming three games will be an ideal opportunity. We have to make the most of it because you don't really want to be in a situation like that, but once you are what's the most that you can get? And, it is preparation for the next year," he concluded.