Blossoming under Dhoni, Tushar Deshpande emerges as CSK’s reliable bowler

Deshpande recorded his best figures in the IPL vs SRH. (Source:

Tushar Deshpande was at his best with the ball for CSK. It could be argued that he delivered the finest spell of his IPL career to date. The right-arm seamer dismantled the formidable Sunrisers Hyderabad line-up with a remarkable four-wicket haul in Match 46 of IPL 2024 season at the Chepauk on Sunday. This marked his fourth T20 four-wicket haul but his first in the IPL.

Defending a target of 213, the home team needed early wickets as they were up against the most dangerous batting line-up this season. As always, Deepak Chahar started the proceedings with the new ball for CSK. The visitors threatened a typically fast start when Travis Head cut the first ball of the innings from Chahar for a four.

Deshpande was brought on from the other end. He was hit for a pair of sixes in the next over, one each by Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma. SRH thought they had got the start they wanted. That’s when Deshpande struck with two quick wickets. First, Head sliced a wide, slower ball to the sweeper fielder. Impact Substitute Anmolpreet Singh then fell for a golden duck, with a leading-edge lobbing to extra-cover. Aiden Markram got going with a couple of boundaries, but Deshpande picked up a third in his next over when he had Abhishek hitting another slower ball to the deep-point fielder.

The brothers of destruction — Head and Abhishek — have not put up unbelievable numbers without taking fielders on. But they would’ve been disappointed that both found one of the only two men out. That was a ploy set by MS Dhoni. After Deshpande went for two sixes, Dhoni asked him to change his line of attack. There were four fielders square on the off-side inside the inner circle. Out of the four, one (Mitchell) was dropped back to deep point to guard the boundary.

Deshpande bowled a slower one outside off, making Head play away from his body. It was full, slower, and wide outside the off stump as Head went down on one knee in an attempt to carve it. However, he did not get the elevation or power to clear deep point, and Mitchell wasn’t dropping it. As soon as Head got out, Deshpande was a bit animated, and rightly so, as he dismissed the most dangerous opening batter of the ongoing IPL. SRH were playing with an extra batter. As an impact sub, Anmolpreet Singh walked in and what did Deshpande do? He bowled a full outswinger on the stumps, with a hint of late away movement. Anmolpreet Singh closed the face of the bat too early, and the thick leading-edge lobbed to extra-cover, where Moeen Ali took the catch. SRH lost two in two, courtesy fiery Deshpande.

In his next over, although Deshpande was denied a hat-trick, he ensured that he pushed SRH onto the backfoot with the wicket of another in-form player, Abhishek. Abhishek’s dismissal mirrored Head’s. A slower short ball outside off, slashed, and Mitchell tracked back to take it. Suddenly, SRH found themselves reeling at 42-3, a very unfamiliar situation for them, as Head and Abhishek have redefined Powerplay batting this season. SRH’s 53/3 against CSK on Sunday night was their second lowest Powerplay tally of the season. Deshpande became only the third bowler in IPL 2024 to claim three wickets inside the Powerplay after Trent Boult’s 3/14 against MI at Wankhede and Sandeep Warrier’s 3/15 against DC in Delhi.

With Head and Abhishek back in the hut, CSK had already won half the battle. Deshpande returned in the 18th over to dismiss Pat Cummins with a well-disguised slower one, finishing with figures of 4/27 from three overs.

Last year, left-arm seamer Mukesh Choudhary was ruled out before the start of the 16th edition, while Ben Stokes and Simarjeet Singh were still recuperating when they joined the team. Deepak Chahar and South African import Sisanda Magala sustained injuries at various stages of the tournament, though Chahar has recovered from a hamstring injury. In a desperate move, CSK summoned the services of Mumbai pacer Deshpande. He has responded well! With 21 wickets, the burly right-armer emerged as CSK’s highest wicket-taker last season, contributing significantly to MS Dhoni’s team securing their fifth IPL title. Despite occasionally struggling with economy rates, Deshpande consistently provided CSK with crucial breakthroughs, often tilting the balance.