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Moeen-frame of Chennai Super Kings

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Identifying a problem is only one step to addressing it. Successfully and immediately troubleshooting it is what makes a good team. In the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League, Chennai Super Kings’ main problem was so obvious even a person with no interest in the sport will have been able to point it lack of aggressive intent after the powerplay till the death. Even though Chennai tried to address it by sending the likes of Sam Curran up the order that was always sticking plaster on a deep wound.

So at the auction, their strategy was simple. Target somebody who could provide that kick, that impetus with the bat. Even if the identity of the cricketer Moeen Ali to plug that gap wasn’t straightforward the Englishman is doing the business for three-time IPL champions. If their approach in 2020 put people to sleep, Ali is leading the charge in the first six overs and beyond.

That he is also more than handy with the ball in his hand as he showed in Mumbai on Monday against Rajasthan Royals is a further plus point. The way he builds his innings granted taking numbers from just three innings is a small sample size is what has helped Chennai so far. Against Rajasthan on Monday, he had three boundaries in the first 13 balls.

In the second match against Punjab, he had four boundaries in his first 11 balls. In the first match against Delhi Capitals, he averaged a boundary every four balls in his innings (4×4, 2×6) after a slow start. His release has allowed other players to keep playing the same way without taking undue risks.  

Coach Fleming made the point that Ali’s batting impetus has allowed them to score big. “Moeen has been really impressive and the way he has played at No.3 helped us getting good scores,” he said after the match on Monday. He also touched upon Ali’s all-round impact. “He’s adding an all-round aspect to our game which we lacked a bit last year. We’re absolutely wrapped with the way he has started.” If Ali continues on this path, especially against his national skipper Eoin Morgan against Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday, expect his work to get noticed by the national team as well.

CSK vs KKR, Live on SS 1 @ 7.30 PM


Punjab Kings will be hoping for better run in a new venue while Sunrisers Hyderabad could be thinking of wholesale changes in this clash of the basement dwellers on Wednesday.

SRH’s  combination play 
Their middle order has undergone significant cosmetic work but they continue to serve ordinary fare. Sample this. In the three games this season, they (Nos 5, 6, and 7), between them, have 88 runs for an average of eight and a strike rate of 117. That’s unacceptable in backyard cricket, forget IPL. Unless they address, tough for them to finish top-four.

What’s eating Rahul? 
Going after the Orange Cap is well and good but not at the cost of batting slowly. In the last match, Rahul’s slow innings costed them the game. You can’t keep complaining about batting depth, when you have pushed down the likes of Nicholas Pooran. With Shahrukh Khan also added to the mix, Rahul has to shed his inhibitions.

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