The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League was suspended last week owing to multiple COVID-19 cases in camps of four franchises participating in the tournament. Until the suspension, Delhi Capitals were at the top of the table with six wins in eight games, while MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings were second, playing a game less with five victories.
The CSK had a poor 2020 season where the side finished at seventh position -- its lowest position in the competition's history. However, this season, a renewed CSK side did justice to its reputation, winning five straight matches after the opening-game defeat.
Former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar said that MS Dhoni's side looked like "the champion," adding that some of the team management decisions paid off.
“All the other teams were in top form with last year’s disappointing team, Chennai Super Kings, looking like the champion it usually had been all these years. There was a renewed energy about the team this time, though there were no major changes to its squad,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for Sportstar.
“The promotion of Moeen Ali to the top of the order at No. 3 turned out to be a masterstroke as the left-handed batsman produced some blistering innings. The seasoned Faf du Plessis was in cracking form, too, and, along with the promising Ruturaj Gaikwad, gave the team some top starts."
Moeen made a significant contribution to CSK's batting order after his promotion, scoring at a strike rate of 157.25 for his 206 runs in six innings. Faf du Plessis, meanwhile, was CSK's highest scorer until the postponement, with 320 runs in seven matches with a strike rate of 145.45.
Gavaskar also talked about young all-rounder Sam Curran, who played important cameos with the bat and remained CSK's highest wicket-taker (9 in 7 matches) until the suspension.
“Sam Curran continues to impress and improve with every game and bids fair to be considered a proper all-rounder now. It’s the final overs’ bowling that the side needs to strengthen as was evident in the match against Mumbai when, despite scoring 218, it lost the game off the last ball,” wrote Gavaskar.