Chennai Super Kings has been one of the most successful franchises in IPL. Since the inception of the tournament, CSK has never failed to reach the playoffs or semifinals till IPL 2020. Although, it could manage to win just three titles in its first 12 seasons. In addition, they have lost five IPL finals – 4 times to Mumbai Indians and once to Kolkata Knight Riders. Still, no other IPL franchise could touch this particular record.
The captaincy of MS Dhoni has been indeed one of the prime factors behind such a brilliant run of the team. Propelled by a stable squad that performed consistently, CSK won 106 out of its total 179 matches in IPL.
However, the year 2020 turned out to be worth forgetting for this franchise. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the tournament to be held outside India, in the UAE. Instead of its normal schedule, it is being hosted currently in September-November. Also, a long gap of lockdown preceded the start of the season this time.
Starting off nicely with a win over arch-rivals Mumbai Indians, CSK in IPL 2020 lost their form instantly. Aged players had themselves exposed, while youngsters could not turn opportunities into performances. An overall decline in batting, bowling and fielding performances led CSK to face 8 loss from 11 games in IPL 2020.
Batting Collapse vs Mumbai Indians
The worst came when CSK top order perished to 3/4 in their return leg match against the Mumbai Indians. Last night, these two teams met at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium for a much-awaited encounter. In absence of regular captain Rohit Sharma, star Caribbean Kieron Pollard handled the captaincy of the team in blue and gold. Mumbai asked CSK to bat first, after winning the toss.
Mumbai strike bowling duo Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah needed no time to break open the weaknesses of a struggling CSK top order. Bumrah got Ambati Rayudu nicking an edge to keeper Quinton de Kock before sending Narayan Jegadeesan for a duck. On the other hand, Boult dismissed Ruturaj Gaekwad and Faf du Plessis to leave CSK tottering at 3/4 after 2.5 overs.
Boult continued his attack to get allrounder Ravindra Jadeja caught off a short delivery. Mumbai spinner Rahul Chahar added to the wrath having captain MS Dhoni and Deepak Chahar gone at team total of 43/7. When the record of the lowest score in IPL by the Royal Challengers Bangalore (49 all out versus Kolkata) looked to be in danger, a valiant Sam Curran stood with his bat. Curran scored a feisty fifty before falling to a deadly Boult yorker on the last ball of the innings. CSK could manage to set a target of 115 before Mumbai chased it off without losing a single wicket!
It has been the worst loss in thirteen seasons for the men in yellow. CSK has never lost an IPL match by 10 wickets earlier. With this daunting defeat, the odds of making the playoffs almost ended for this team.
A Chance of Qualification
However, the fans of the game has come up with a scenario in which the Super Kings can still make into the top four this season. Although it looks pretty tough given the dismal condition of the team, few of its fans are not yet ready to lose confidence.
Here’s how CSK may have a final shot at qualification in IPL 2020:
As per the designer of this qualification scenario, the following events in the remaining schedule of IPL will do the trick for CSK:
- Delhi Capitals beats Kolkata Knight Riders.
- Sunrisers Hyderabad beats Kings XI Punjab.
- Chennai Super Kings beats Royal Challengers Bangalore.
- Mumbai Indians beats Rajasthan Royals.
- Kings XI Punjab beats Kolkata Knight Riders.
- Delhi Capitals beats Sunrisers Hyderabad.
- Mumbai Indians beats Royal Challengers Bangalore.
- Chennai Supers Kings beats Kolkata Knight Riders.
- Rajasthan Royals beats Kings XI Punjab.
- Mumbai Indians beats Delhi Capitals.
- Royal Challengers Bangalore beats Sunrisers Hyderabad.
- Chennai Super Kings beats Kings XI Punjab.
- Rajasthan Royals beats Kolkata Knight Riders.
- Delhi Capitals beats Royal Challengers Bangalore.
- Mumbai Indians beats Sunrisers Hyderabad.
If this sequence would take place in real, Chennai Super Kings could finish at the fourth position in the points table. This may lead them into the qualifier stage of the tournament the fans are rooting for. As seen in the graphic, even the fans are eager to find a way for their favorite team to win the IPL title this year!
In reality, it would take a miracle for CSK to make it to the top four from the sombre situation they are currently in. Like the RCB fans the other year, all that CSK fans can rely on now is this single piece of paper, apart from return of form for its star cricketers.