Chennai Super Kings are in ominous form and are doing what they do best - winning. Their six-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad is their fourth in a row and nothing seems to have changed for them since IPL 1, apart from the shuffling of a few names in the squad. They have essentially remained a unit consisting of strong batting line up, good spinners and bunch of brilliant fielders. This year though, one thing has changed for them. They now also have bunch of good fast bowlers in their armoury.
The franchise has been in search of local seam bowling options since the IPL began. They have tried Sudeep Tygai, Joginder Sharma, Yo Mahesh and Lakshmipathy Balaji but barring Balaji no one was up to the task. This season the combination of Mohit Sharma and Ishwar Pandey has given them the consistency and penetration they have been searching for. Add in Ben Hilfenhaus as the leader of the pack, and CSK’s seam options are the best they have ever had.
Last season, Mohit Sharma finished the tournament with 20 wickets. He took 15 wickets during the PowerPlay overs, second only to Mitchell Johnson's 16. He has a smooth delivery stride and uses the outswinger as his stock ball. His adaptability to the conditions of UAE has been crucial to his success. His ability to bowl according to match situations and not get affected by what is happening around him is his strength. He maintains a good line and doesn’t offer any width outside off-stump, which makes him successful in the early overs. When it comes to death bowling, he relies on his back of the hand slower ball, mixing it well with yorkers. He is fast becoming a lethal weapon for Super Kings.
Fast bowlers tend to hunt in pairs. Walsh-Ambrose, Waqar-Wasim, Garner-Marshall have made their name by bowling in tandem. While the current crop don’t compare to those legends, Super Kings currently possess three different seam combinations: Hilfenhaus-Pandey, Hilfenhaus-Mohit and Mohit-Pandey.
Ishwar Pandey has been the best find for CSK this season. He bowls with a big heart. He pitches the ball up and relies on his ability to swing the ball both ways from the same spot around the off stump. His height gives him bounce even from a good length that makes him hard to hit for runs. Chennai seems to have given him an attacking role and they are reaping benefit from his aggressive bowling. He is tall, strong and most importantly he is hungry for success.
Hilfenhaus has the experience and skill to mentor the two Indian bowlers. Under him both Pandey and Mohit are learning the tricks of the trade. The real test will come when they return to India next month. Back home, the ball will neither swing nor seam. They will have to step up, be good at bowling wide yorkers, slower bouncers and think out of box on these pitches to keep the momentum going for Super Kings. There is every indication they are up for the challenge.
Updated Date: May 29, 2014 14:30 PM