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Despite inexperienced bowling attack, CSK have strung together impressive showing in IPL 2023

IPL 2023: Chennai Super Kings' impressive campaign despite having inexperienced bowling attack. CSK have 15 points from 13 games in IPL 2023.

IPL 2023, KKR vs CSK, Top Performances_ CSK beat Kolkata Knight Riders at eden gardens and move to top of the points table _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©IPL_Twitter)
CSK have 15 points after 13 games in IPL 2023 (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the 16th edition of IPL have performed the way they usually do, that is to maintain consistency and be at the forefront to qualify for the playoffs. CSK led by MS Dhoni is on the cusp of reaching the playoffs once again having accumulated 15 points till now with a game left.

This after finishing at the no.9 spot in the previous season where they endured a forgettable, disappointing campaign. And when it looked like CSK may find it tough to compete in this season with the team they had, they surprised everyone with this turnaround. With a somewhat depleted side, CSK played as a bunch led by their inspirational skipper MS Dhoni.

How did they manage to turn it around?

Top 4 have come to the party

What is CSK doing differently from last season that allowed to them to be at the second position in the points table with last round of game to go? We can start with the openers - Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad. The left-right combo has given the team great starts this season and almost nullified the fact that CSK has one of the most inexperienced bowling attacks in the league. In the early phase of IPL, the duo’s starts have time and again proved to be quite handful.

Conway has been a welcome addition and he has continued the tradition of an overseas opener coming good for CSK joining the likes of Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey, Faf du Plessis, Brendon McCullum and Dwyane Smith who were too good at the top for the men in yellow. The Kiwi opener is the leading run-getter for the franchise this season scoring 498 runs at an average of 49.8 with a strike rate of just under 135. At the home venue of CSK, which is known to spin, Conway has scored 350 runs at an average of 70 with three of his 5 fifty-plus scores coming at this venue in 2023. The rest of the batters play around Conway as the batter anchors along the innings.

Ruturaj is not someone who can be left behind when it comes to CSK and IPL. The opener has been an unsung partner but he himself scored 425 runs in 12 innings and it has come at a strike rate of just more than 147. He might have not scored the big runs barring a 90+ score early in the season but his quick fire 30s and 40s have helped CSK immensely.

Read More: IPL 2023, CSK vs DC: Chennai a step closer to playoffs spot after big win over Delhi Capitals

IPL 2023, KKR vs CSK, Top Performances_ Ajinkya Rahane scored 71 off 29 balls against KKR at Eden Gardens; CSK beat KKR _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©IPL_Twitter)
Rahane scored 71 off 29 balls against KKR (Images: ©IPL/Twitter)

The success of CSK’s no.3 and 4 has been a refreshing site for many. Let us start with Ajinkya Rahane for whom many may not have given a chance to succeed, especially in this format. Originally not in the playing XI for initial few games and an injury to Ben Stokes opened the door for Rahane to make his first appearance. He took the opportunity with both hands and played two stunning knocks. In his maiden IPL game for the CSK, Rahane made a scintillating 61 off 27 balls against MI before playing an even more impactful knock of unbeaten 71 off 29. Both helped CSK win and thus far Rahane has scored 282 at a strike rate of just under 170.