Top dogs have much to do after rare combined fall from grace

The league stage of one of the longest IPL seasons is over. After 70 matches, four teams will now fight to win the coveted crown on the 29th of May.

As much as it will be remembered for who made the Playoffs cut, IPL 2022 will be remembered for two teams who did not make the cut since there was a bit of history created, in that regard.

Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have been stand-out teams of the tournament’s history, but for the first time in 15 editions neither will be involved in the Playoffs this time around.

MI and CSK struggled for various reasons this season but at heart, but they had one common issue: lack of firepower in the middle.

While MI realized the potential of Tim David late into the season, the lack of runs from Kieron Pollard in the middle hurt them badly, which meant they needed to bank on the inexperience of Ramandeep Singh in the dying stages of the league phase.

CSK, too, found out that post the top three batters the rest just could not or did not have the strength to take them deep in the tournament.

A lynchpin they banked on to come good was Ambati Rayudu. The franchise first bought him in 2018, when as an opener he proved to be a game-changer and took them to the title.

But international retirement a year later and breaks owing to the pandemic meant that consistent game time eluded Rayudu and the proof of it could be seen this season when he could only amass 274 runs in 13 matches at 122. He announced he had had enough only for the franchise to intervene and revoke the decision.

Ravindra Jadeja had a season to forget, both as a captain and as an all-rounder and injury cut short his season and delayed CSK’s transition plans further.

The dilemma both franchises face to induce the much-needed power into their batting is that the options to choose the right men does not lie in their hands.

One look around and it looks evident that the other teams have found a few players who could prove impactful in the middle order, RCB have Dinesh Karthik and Shahbaz Ahmed, KKR have Andre Russell and Rinku Singh. GT have David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, and Hardik Pandya.

Which of these players or others could franchises release for MI and CSK to improve the holes in the XI?

As a result, it appears that, at the moment, the decision taken by the franchise at the auction to not sign the best players available and rather look too far ahead in MI’s case and look far too behind in CSK’s case might be a long-lasting blunder.

Teams go through cycles of success and defeat. Both these franchises have endured terrific highs for sustained period of time. Now it seems the tide has sadly turned the wrong way.

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Writer. Lover of sport and good music.

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