Spotlight on Chahar’s struggles with new ball as CSK take on LSG


CSK will lock horns with LSG at their den. (Source:

Just three days after enduring a heavy defeat in Lucknow, the Chennai Super Kings will once again face off against the Lucknow Super Giants, this time hosting the fifth-placed side at their fortress, Chepauk. However, if CSK replicates their performance from the match in Lucknow, it could spell trouble, allowing KL Rahul and his team to conquer the fortress, especially if they capitalise on the powerplay.

At the heart of CSK’s struggles with the new ball lies one of their most reliable players, Deepak Chahar. The 31-year-old right-arm pacer, who joined CSK in 2018, has been their most successful fast bowler, renowned for his effectiveness with the new ball. Chahar possesses the rare ability to swing the white Kookaburra ball, a skill that has made him a formidable force in the powerplay. His strength lies in his bowling with the new ball. In 2019, he tore through the Bangladesh batting lineup to register the best figures by an Indian bowler in T20Is.

His tally of 56 powerplay wickets is the highest for a bowler since IPL 2018. When MS Dhoni was captain, he used to aim to complete three overs of Chahar within the first ten overs. That is because Chahar’s best use is with the new ball. While Chahar may be more susceptible to conceding runs in the latter stages of the innings, his prowess in the powerplay cannot be understated. In IPL matches since 2023, he has claimed 14 wickets in the powerplay while maintaining an economy rate of below 8 in the middle overs.

Let’s consider the last game as an example. Chahar was returning after sitting out two consecutive matches. CSK were defending a total of 177 runs. Despite being CSK’s new-ball specialist, Chahar struggled to generate swing in the first over. So, what did he do? He resorted to slower deliveries. However, the LSG openers quickly picked up on his variations and punished him during his three-over powerplay spell. With only two fielders patrolling the boundary, it became easier for LSG batters to anticipate his slower deliveries. This has been a recurring issue for Chahar this season.

If Chahar gets smashed in the powerplay, he then resorts to his slower deliveries, which clearly hasn’t worked for him so far this season. Chahar needs to back himself to try and move the ball. He’s not the kind of bowler who will get wickets by bowling yorkers as he lacks the pace to threaten the batters. He has picked up just four wickets in five games so far, and all four were taken within the first six overs. However, his economy rate has been around 9 runs per over, something he should improve on. 

After a tough game in Lucknow, Chahar will be looking to make early amends and expose LSG’s middle-order. The Rajasthan-based seamer enjoys bowling at Chepauk. Chahar has taken 3 wickets in two games this season. He boasts an impressive record at Chepauk with the new ball. Since IPL 2023, Chahar has taken 11 wickets in seven games at that ground.

In IPL 2024, the stadium has witnessed an unusual trend where pacers have taken the lead, claiming over 73% of the wickets at an economy rate of 8.5. This is notably higher than the spinners, who have conceded runs at a rate of 7.6 per over. Due to this trend, CSK has opted to field four frontline seamers in Chennai, a strategy they plan to employ once again against LSG.

If Chahar manages to get early breakthroughs, CSK will position themselves well to contain LSG’s relatively lengthy batting lineup.