Chennai Super Kings
What Led To This Spectacular Turnaround In IPL 2023?

Author : Gautam Varier

Chennai Super Kings came into the 2022 Indian Premier League season as the defending champions but the campaign couldn’t have gone much worse for them. They finished with just four wins and only NRR kept them off the foot of the table, a disastrous outcome for a franchise that prided itself on consistently churning out results. They hardly seemed like some juggernaut heading into the 16th season of the IPL, but just as how last season was a shocker for all the wrong reasons, this one has been a bit of a shock in the best possible way.

CSK went from second from bottom to second after winning eight of their 14 games and then proceeded to stun the Gujarat Titans in Qualifier 1 to get back to the Final for the 10th time. So, what has changed so much for a franchise that struggled mightily last season? Let’s have a look. (Statistics considered up to Eliminator between Mumbai Indians and Lucknow Super Giants).

All in all, the 2022 campaign saw the CSK bowlers underperform greatly. The only positive was that they managed to keep it tight in the middle overs, but the bowling attack was toothless. They failed to consistently get breakthroughs and were the worst when it came to the death overs. The Sunrisers Hyderabad were the only team with a worse economy rate in the period (11.48) but they still took six more wickets than CSK. The biggest change somewhat surprisingly would come in this very aspect for the Men in Yellow in 2023.

It is almost astonishing just how much better they have gotten in the Death overs and they have one man to thank for that, Matheesha Pathirana. His 16 wickets in the death are by far the most in the tournament this season, with Mohit Sharma coming in at second with 10. Pathirana’s economy rate of 7.77 also ranks second among players who have bowled at least 60 deliveries in the death this season, with only Yuzvendra Chahal (7.75) ahead of him. Pathirana has had some support from Tushar Deshpande who, while he has been expensive, is tied for third in death over wickets with nine.

As for the powerplay, Deepak Chahar’s return from injury has been a massive boost for CSK. After a slow start, Chahar has now picked up 10 wickets in the powerplay in nine matches this season, which is tied for second in the tournament. With Chahar dominating in the powerplay, their spinners keeping it tight in the middle overs, and Pathirana getting the job done in the death, CSK have been transformed into one of the best bowling units of the season.

The CSK batters were pretty average when it came to the scoring rates in the first two phases of the game but were atrocious at the death in 2022. This season, however, there has been marked improvement in each phase, particularly in the death.

While Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway have laid the foundations during the powerplay just as they did last season, they have done so at a quicker rate this time. Carrying on from them has been Shivam Dube, who has proven to be quite the X-factor for CSK in the middle overs. He ranks sixth in the tournament for runs in the middle overs with 292 and among batters who have scored at least 275 runs in the period, his strike rate of 151.29 is only bettered by Suryakumar Yadav (182.35) and Heinrich Klaasen (175.14).

Dube has also struck 94 runs at a strike rate of 188 in the death to provide support to MS Dhoni, who has racked up 102 runs at a strike rate of 192.45 in the period. Dhoni’s strike rate is the third-highest among players who have managed to reach triple figures in the death and he has shown he still has some gas left in the tank.

CSK have just gotten big contributions from so many different players this season, which just wasn’t the case last year. They have done a great job to get this far but won’t be happy with just making the Final, of course. Dhoni will be ensuring his team knows the job is far from being done and he’ll be keen to mastermind another triumph to get his hands on the trophy for a fifth time.


More From Our Blog