Former Indian batter Aakash Chopra has stated that while MS Dhoni scored a half-century in Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) IPL 2022 opener against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), it was an ironic indication of the team’s batting struggles.
The former Chennai skipper walked into bat at No. 7, after the team had slid to 61 for 5. He scored a fighting half-century as CSK ended up posting 131 for 5. However, it was not enough as KKR won the contest by six wickets.
Chennai are now preparing to take on the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday. Previewing the match on his YouTube channel, Chopra looked back at Chennai’s loss to Kolkata and pointed out:
“Mahendra Singh Dhoni did score runs for Chennai. But if Dhoni has to score runs, it means there is an issue. If you look at the batting order, they have Devon Conway, Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu, Shivam Dube. These players will need to score runs. Even Ravindra Jadeja looked out of sorts in the last match. So CSK do have a few issues to deal with. The good news for them is that all-rounder Moeen Ali is now available.”
Dhoni and Jadeja featured in an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 70 against Kolkata. However, the latter struggled for rhythm and took 28 balls for his 26*. He hit only one six during his innings, which came off the last ball.
“CSK are already missing Deepak Chahar” – Aakash Chopra
Over the last few seasons, pacer Deepak Chahar has been a key figure in Chennai’s bowling line-up, constantly striking at the top. However, he is recuperating from an injury and is likely to miss quite a few games this season.
According to Chopra, the defending champions are already missing the dependable bowler. He opined:
“We always underrate CSK and then they do wonders. After the disaster of 2020, 2021 was the comeback of all times. But this season hasn’t begun well for them. CSK are already missing Deepak Chahar. The ability to take wickets with the new ball is missing.”
The 44-year-old also pointed out a trend in opener Ruturaj Gaikwad’s performances that doesn’t spell good news at the start of the tournament. He elaborated about the youngster’s batting rhythm:
“If you observe Ruturaj Gaikwad’s performances over the last two seasons, he doesn’t score in the initial matches. His batting picks up pace as the tournament progresses and, last year, he even went on to win the Orange Cap. But, even last season, he did not start well. Of course, that edition was played in two halves.”
After struggling in the initial few matches in the 2021 edition, Gaikwad lifted himself and ended the season with 635 runs at an average of 45.35 and a strike rate of 136.26, winning the Orange Cap in the process.