IPL 2023: CSK tops table despite losing Ben Stokes to injury
IPL 2023 is about to reach its mid-way point, and the points table is starting to shape up. It is safe to say that the competition has filled cricket fans with nostalgia.
With chubby leg spinners dominating the opponents to local stars hogging the limelight, IPL 2023 has been full of surprises. However, all of these surprises have not been pleasant, as evident in CSK’s case.
Losing Ben Stokes early in the competition
The team started this IPL with a loss against GT, followed by multiple shaky performances. But the biggest shocker that the team faced was losing their star all-rounder, Ben Stokes, to injury. The English player has always been among the most sought-out IPL players.
Even worse, the team lost Deepak Chahar due to a hamstring injury. The bowler is set to miss a couple of IPL matches. Similarly, MSD has been noticed limping during matches due to a knee injury.
With health concerns surrounding the team, CSK was faced with a mountain of troubles. However, it seems like the CSK team management has managed to overcome it comfortably. After Ben Stokes was ruled out of IPL for two weeks due to a toe injury, CSK turned to its local stars for assistance.
Chennai’s performance in IPL 2023
The team has been led by Devon Conway in terms of runs and sheer boundaries. The batsman is only behind Faf du Plessis in terms of runs this IPL. That is why Conway has quickly gained massive popularity among fantasy players.
The batsman is among the first players to be picked on top cricket betting sites in every CSK fixture.
However, CSK is not a one-trick pony, as shown by its middle-order batsmen. It is players like Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shivam Dube, and Ajinkya Rahane that have provided a stable batting attack for the team.
In fact, Tushar Deshpande is contending for the Purple Cap with 12 wickets in only 7 matches.
Such performances are the reason why Chennai Super Kings is currently leading the competition with 10 points in 7 matches. The only team close to CSK is GT, with a similar tally but a worse NRR.
CSK currently boasts a net run rate of +0.662, which is only below RR, which boasts an NRR of +0.844. On the other hand, GT trails behind CSK with an NRR of +0.580.
The team has suffered one of its two losses against GT in Match 1. CSK secured a total of 178 for 7 in the match, which was chased down by GT with 4 balls and 5 wickets remaining.
Chennai then won 2 consecutive matches before losing a close game to RR. The Rajasthan Royals presented a target of 176 in front of the Dhoni-led squad. However, the team could only manage to reach 172 for 6 in its quota of 20 overs.
Dhoni bidding IPL farewell this season
With IPL 2023 being MS Dhoni’s final season, this could be the last time cricket fans can watch MSD on the big screen swinging his bat. The effect of MSD has garnered such love that teams are losing crowd support even on their home turf.
Its latest example became the Eden Gardens, where the stadium was filled with yellow despite it being KKR’s home ground.
Can CSK win IPL 2023?
The Argentinian team did it for Messi; can CSK do it for MSD? Although the scale of IPL is much smaller than FIFA World Cup, the sentiments of fans are on par.
That is why most cricket fans want MSD to win his final IPL. But is it possible with the current squad? The team has lost its reliable pillars, such as Dwayne Bravo, Suresh Raina, and Shane Watson, who had led the team to victories single-handedly.
Although these stars have left the team, their places have been aptly filled by emerging players. Be it Devon Conway on the top order with Ruturaj Gaikwad or Ajinkya Rahane in the middle order; the CSK batting lineup seems to be in top form.
And while their bowling attack is not as sharp, the likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Tushar Deshpande, and Akash Singh are leading the team. When Deepak Chahar and Ben Stokes return, CSK will become a team with no loose ends.
This IPL has shown teams winning matches due to individual brilliance. However, stability and consistency are virtues that pay well in the sport of cricket. So, as long as Chennai boasts players who continue their performance, the team should be everyone’s favorite to win the competition.
CSK is seen to dominate the competition with 5 wins in 7 matches, while IPL 2023 is already halfway.