Chennai Super Kings were hit by controversies this year. As they head into the Champions League T20 2013, Nishad Pai Vaidya feels that this may be an opportunity for them to brush aside the tough phase.
Amidst all the gloom of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 spot-fixing controversy, the Chennai Super Kings capitulated during their run-chase in the final at Kolkata. That a team which had mastered the art of handling pressure collapsed in a heap was evidence of the toll the off-field events had taken on their psyche. Putting that phase behind, Chennai would want to start afresh at the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) 2013 and they have a very settled unit to deliver the goods. On Indian soil, they are certainly one of the strongest contenders for the title.
The great thing is that Chennai have enough dynamism in their ranks and have players for any conditions. MS Dhoni has one of the most balanced T20 sides at his disposal with a host of dangerous players who have the ability to change the game on its head in a matter of minutes. At times, handling a plethora of resources can be tricky, but Dhoni marshals his troops well. He knows his strengths and the all-rounders provide the line-up a lot of punch.
Although Chennai aren’t playing at their fortress MA Chidambaram Stadium, they would still feel at home away from home at the JSCA Stadium, Ranchi. As we know, it is skipper Dhoni’s hometown and he is one icon who has put the city on the world’s cricketing map. The crowd would certainly support Chennai and their favourite Dhoni. At the same time, the surface too might suit Chennai. In the only One-Day International (ODI) played at the venue and a couple of IPL matches, the surface has helped the spinners and run-scoring hasn’t been a very easy task. However, during the last IPL game there, we saw a good score being put up and almost overhauled.
In such a scenario, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja’s overs are very crucial as they can keep it tight and use the surface to good effect. If it is indeed slow, even Dwayne Bravo can be a crucial option given his ability to bowl the well-disguised slower ones. What’s more is that they play three of their four games at Ranchi and have setup base there. They can only get stronger and build the advantage at the venue.
Michael Hussey and Suresh Raina should be the crucial men at the top. The southpaws have had a huge effect on their team’s fortunes. But, in the middle, Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo may have to take on more responsibility in case there is a collapse. Chennai also have to figure out how they would use Albie Morkel. The South African can be a destructive force with the bat, but often walks in situations where he doesn’t have too many deliveries to play. As a result, he has to give it everything right from the beginning. There may be a case for a gamble whereby he may be promoted up the order so that he gets time before an assault.
Tactically, Chennai are very strong and their set formula holds them in good stead before every campaign. They haven’t had happy memories from the last two CLT20s. This time, things are different as they have seen their fair share of controversies. One way of moving past that is by winning. Can Ranchi prove to be their lucky spot?