IPL 2021: The old CSK magic before the COVID wrath

After a disastrous 2020, a rejuvenated CSK won five out of its seven games and was second in the table.

In contrast to the aging side of 2020, this year’s CSK was relatively younger and hungrier with clear role definitions- PTI   -  PTI

A red hot Ravindra Jadeja strung together a blaze of sixes in the innings’ final over. The clinical Deepak Chahar was destructive with his swing. And the cutting edge of all-rounder Sam Curran’s game was in view.

After a disastrous 2020, Chennai Super Kings made a stunning turnaround in the 2021 edition of the IPL.

The competition now stands suspended because of the alarming Covid-19 situation in the country, but the BCCI is determined to hold the remainder of the competition in either the UAE or Sri Lanka later this year.  

A rejuvenated CSK won five out of its seven games and was second in the table. One of its defeats was a last-ball cliff-hanger with the explosive Kieron Pollard pulling off a believe-it-or-not kind of heist for Mumbai Indians.  

In contrast to the aging side of 2020, this year’s CSK was relatively younger and hungrier with clear role definitions.  Critically, the side was not overly dependent on skipper M.S. Dhoni for its successes.

The opener pair of Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad donned a key role in CSK rediscovering its mojo. 

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The quick-thinking du Plessis of astonishing bat-speed if not footwork, was remarkably consistent at the top of the order with 320 runs at a whopping 64.00 [Strike Rate 145.45].   

And fellow opener Gaikwad of footwork, timing and silken drives helped CSK build a solid platform. 

Moeen Ali proved an inspired signing for CSK. He maintained the momentum even as wickets fell and invariably upped the tempo surfacing at No 3.

With the grace and flow of a southpaw, he found the gaps or cleared the ropes with an effortless swing of the willow.

And he chipped in with his off-spin too, supporting Jadeja, and picking wickets at crucial stages.    

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Suresh Raina displayed flashes of form and Rayudu’s brutal onslaught on MI during his unbeaten 72 reflected his precious ability to use the crease. 

And then Chahar and left-armer Curran struck vital blows, finishing with eight and nine wickets. 

The influential Jadeja was the Super King with the bat and the ball against RCB, castling the in-form Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers, the latter with an absolute beauty that spun across the bat’s face.

With Dhoni pulling the strings quietly, CSK was well and truly back.

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