The fifth edition of the Indian Premier League has been a poor one for the defending champions Chennai Super Kings so far, who have performed below par despite having some big players in their ranks. Once touted as favourites to complete the hat-trick of the title, Chennai are fifth in the points table and on current form, it seems difficult for them to qualify for the play-offs.
The biggest worry for CSK has been the form of their batsmen. Murali Vijay has been the poorest of the lot and has been dropped from the team. He was the one of the key members that helped CSK win the last two edition of the IPL and MS Dhoni's team has missed him for sure. Apart from Faf du Plessis, none of the players so far have really shown the mettle and consistency.
But the inclusion of Michael Hussey following Australia's tour of the West Indies is definitely going to strengthen Chennai batting line-up. However, there is very little time for Hussey to settle down as the tournament has already reached its business end and he has to start performing from the word go. Subramaniam Badrinath is another player who has been wasted so far by Chennai team management as he is still struggling to get a fixed spot. At times he has been asked to open the innings while in other matches he has played lower down the order. That for sure is going to hurt any player's confidence.
Another thing that Chennai have been missing is runs from Suresh Raina's bat. Though he has become the first man to reach the 2000-run mark in the IPL, Raina has been poor in the tournament so far. Coming in at No.3, the left-hander has to play a very important role for the team, but so far he has just managed 197 runs at average 21.88 in nine innings and has failed to capitalise on the couple of starts he has go so far.
Dhoni's reluctance to bat higher up the order is also hurting the team's chances. Dhoni needs to bat at No.4 in the order to add some stability and consistency to the batting line-up. Dhoni has played a couple of good innings batting at this spot but the continuous shuffling in the batting order has also worked against them. Allrounders Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja have stood up to their task while bowling and fielding but have not performed with the bat so far.
Surely with six matches to be played, time is running out for Chennai to sort out their batting, and it seems an uphill task for CSK to defend their crown this time around.