Aakash Chopra has expressed surprise at the Chennai Super Kings‘ (CSK) massive turnaround in IPL 2021. CSK was the first team to get knocked out of the race for a playoff berth in IPL 2020 and eventually finished seventh in the standings. But the MS Dhoni-led outfit staged a grand comeback in IPL 2021 and was placed second in the points table when the tournament was suspended.
Aakash Chopra Points Out Vast Difference Between IPL 2020 And IPL 2021 And Can’t Believe CSK’s Transformation
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra pointed out that CSK was an invigorated lot in IPL 2021. The cricketer-turned-commentator acknowledged that he did not believe the franchise would be able to stage such a turnaround within a year.
“There was a vast difference between IPL 2020 and IPL 2021. CSK played like a Dad’s Army in 2020 and everyone got the superpowers as soon as 2021 came. The kings had become the Super Kings. Such a transformation can happen in six months, I and a lot of my friends had not thought so. But this team showed that,” said Aakash Chopra.
The inclusion of Moeen Ali and the stability in their batting order played a massive role in CSK’s revival in IPL 2021. As both Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu hadn’t played any competitive cricket before the IPL 2021, MS Dhoni went with Moeen Ali at No.3. The move paid off well as the English all-rounder amassed 206 runs at an average of 34.33 and a strike rate of 157.25.
Aakash Chopra Picked CSK’s Big Six Hitting Prowess As A Reason Behind Their Turnaround In IPL 2021 From IPL 2020
Aakash Chopra picked CSK’s improved big-hitting prowess as one of the primary reasons behind their turnaround this season.
“The first thing that has changed for CSK is their six-hitting ability. If we talk about 2020, it is not that they played only in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, they played in Sharjah as well but were not hitting the sixes,” Aakash Chopra added.
The former Indian batsman admitted he did not believe CSK would make the playoffs in IPL 2021 due to a lack of six-hitting ability in their line-up.
“When the first encounters were in the small Wankhede ground and after that they went to Delhi, it was in our mind that Chennai will be stuck because who will hit the sixes. I thought this team will not qualify because of this reason,” Aakash Chopra further maintained.
Aakash Chopra signed off by sharing some numbers to substantiate his point.
“If you talk about 2020, CSK was second-last in terms of the number of sixes. They hit a total of 75 sixes and were taking 22 balls to hit a six while the Mumbai Indians were hitting a six every 13.2 balls and hit 137 in total. This year they have played only seven encounters, and have hit 62 sixes, with a six every 13.1 balls,” concluded Aakash Chopra.
Ambati Rayudu and Faf du Plessis, with 13 sixes each, have cleared the ropes on most occasions for CSK in IPL 2021. They are closely followed by Moeen Ali, who has hit 12 maximums thus far.
This is in sharp contrast to IPL 2020 where the 14 sixes hit by Faf Du Plessis, the most by a CSK batsman, came in almost double the matches. CSK hit the most sixes(62) this season before IPL 2021 was suspended midway due to rising Covid-19 cases in India.
Faf du Plessis continued from where he left in the UAE in 2020 scoring 320 runs in 7 matches at a strike rate of 145.45 including 4 fifties.
The platform laid by him and opener Ruturaj Gaikwad (196 runs at a strike rate of 128.94) eased the pressure on the middle order and went a long way enabling CSK to put up massive totals. Ambati Rayudu-136 runs, Ravindra Jadeja-131 runs, Suresh Raina-123 runs also were among runs.