CSK’s Remarkable Death Bowling Transformation
After leaving the IPL, CSK had to decide who would bowl the challenging overs.
During his ten-season IPL career as a player with Chennai Super Kings, Dwayne Bravo often came to life at the very last moment. Is it a surprise that the side he is currently coaching has taken the joint-most wickets in IPL 2023’s final few overs?
April 3, 2023. After a four-year absence, CSK is playing in Chepauk, and the roar of the fans is deafening. Tushar Deshpande would subsequently acknowledge that he “couldn’t hear anything”. The Lucknow Super Giants are chasing 218 and are at 136 for 5 in 14 overs. In just ten balls, Nicholas Pooran has raced to 18 runs. CSK take a calculated break. Deshpande’s opponent, Bravo, goes onto the pitch with a message for him: stack the offside and bowl wide yorkers.
Deshpande doesn’t naturally bowl the Yorker, but Bravo, who had known him since the IPL of 2021, when Deshpande was a net bowler for the team, supports his rookie seamer in carrying out the strategy. Following the break, Pooran hits Ravindra Jadeja’s left-arm finger spin for two sixes.
Despite Jadeja’s 14-run over and Deshpande’s 18 runs in an 11-ball over on the powerplay, CSK stayed with their game plan. With Mitchell Santner and Ben Stokes as two of his top fielders, MS Dhoni provides Deshpande with three fielders on the offside boundary: deep point, deep cover, and long-off.
Deshpande hits the wide Yorker perfectly and instructs Pooran to carve a catch for Stokes at wide long-off. Excellent work. In that game, Rajvardhan Hangargekar also successfully employs the wide-yorker strategy. The most challenging position in Twenty20 cricket was handled with surprising calm by two uncapped Indian seamers.
According to Deshpande, “I feel he is a legend,” as she previously told CSK TV. “He is the No. 1 [now No. 2] wicket-taker in IPL history. He can thus provide a wealth of knowledge to our bowling team. He’s pretty laid back, so you always feel like you’re clear on top of your mark, whether he’s around you or your bowling mark.
Sisanda Magala, a death-bowling specialist for South Africa and Sunrisers Eastern Cape in the SA20, and CSK’s spearhead Deepak Chahar suffered injuries just when parts of CSK’s bowling jigsaw were starting to fit together. Mukesh Choudhary and Kyle Jamieson, both banned from the competition for the duration of it, were already absent from CSK injuries. After testing positive for Covid-19 in New Zealand, Matheesha Pathirana was on the mend and wasn’t forced into action.
Guiding CSK’s Rising Stars to Success in IPL 2023
Pathirana was inserted into the lineup for the match at Chinnaswamy Stadium against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Despite Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell getting off to a fast start, Pathirana helped CSK win the game with various shots with a distinctive side-arm movement.
This season, whenever Deshpande or Pathirana have scored towards the end, Bravo has exited the dugout and set up shop near the boundary to keep a tight check on his players. He frequently sees Pathirana and Deshpande perform the menial tasks he used to perform at Chepauk while sitting close to the straight boundary with the ball boys.
Bravo tutored left-arm seam-bowling all-rounder Dominic Drakes while playing for St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots in the CPL. He frequently stationed himself at mid-on or mid-off during that time. At the Super50 tournament, young West Indies bowlers were also trained by Bravo, who has since established himself as the global go-to bowler.
Bravo assisted Akash Singh in settling into the side when Chahar was forced to leave due to injury. When Akash impersonated Bravo’s jig on his 21st birthday, it was clear that the two were a close-knit team. Towards the end of this CSK-released video, Bravo jokes, “I’m not teaching you anything again.”
Like Pathirana, Akash should have taken action right away. Chahar had suggested Akash to the CSK management after his former Rajasthan teammate suffered a hamstring injury. After completing a trial with CSK, Akash consistently bowled at their nets and built up his confidence before making his franchise debut for them this season.
Inspiring the Next Generation of Death Bowlers at CSK
As a net bowler recently promoted to the primary side, Akash joins Deshpande, Choudhary, Prashant Solanki, and Nishant Sindhu. Additionally, CSK’s bowling consultant Eric Simmons stated during a press conference that they emphasise developing their net bowlers.
The net bowlers are a part of our family, as we frequently mention at CSK, Simmons had stated earlier in the month. They don’t simply show up to bowl; they’re more than that. We converse with them and offer them the best advice we can. We are constantly searching for the next CSK bowler.
So many exceptional cricketers in this nation bow to us in the nets, and you occasionally find them for various reasons. Sometimes it’s their perspective; other times, it’s how they do things, but they feel at ease in our setting and understand that their growth is as significant as helping the batters. For them, the location serves as their first simulation.
Once Chahar was fit again, he took over from Akash and took care of the powerplay, which allowed Dhoni to reserve Pathirana for the second half of the innings. Chahar’s return also enabled Dhoni to hold back an over or two of mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana for the death. And as the season progressed, Deshpande improved in the slog overs. In the season’s first seven games, he conceded 12.32 an over during this phase, but that economy rate dropped to an acceptable 9.81 in the second half of the league stage.
After CSK had assured their place in the playoffs, Dhoni observed, “I think confidence is a significant factor when it comes to death bowling.” “If you look at Tushar, he has honed his death-overs bowling from the first game till today. And that confidence is the primary cause. They all carry out the necessary tasks, but the key is how often you can work under pressure. When you have such confidence, you can carry out your plan.
It also helps to continue playing with the same teammates. However, a lot of preparation is done behind the scenes in death bowling, and I believe the bowlers have accepted that duty. Not to mention that Pathirana is pretty natural in the last three to four overs, so there is one less headache.
The biggest issue confronting CSK was who would bowl the challenging overs for them following Bravo’s IPL retirement and the subsequent auction. With assistance from Bravo, a young Sri Lankan fast bowler who reminds one of Lasith Malinga, and an unproven Indian seamer who reminds one of Shardul Thakur have provided the answers.Browse more cricket prediction here at IPLWin India.