1. Absence of Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh
The Chennai Super Kings were dealt a big blow even before the IPL 2020 started. Raina, their highest run-getter and most consistent batsman, withdrew from the tournament citing personal reasons, and veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh too followed the suit. Their absence was felt as Chennai struggled to find balance in the middle order that Raina brings in. Harbhajan's experience could have been handy in slowing tracks of the UAE as the likes of Piyush Chawla and Ravindra Jadeja did not rise to the occasion.
2. Lack of form of MS Dhoni
Dhoni has been the backbone of CSK batting over the years. In the past, he donned multiple roles - enforcer at the death, steadying the innings and pace the chase. But in IPL 2020, Dhoni looked a man vastly out of touch and struggled to force pace. Even some of his quicker innings came much after the Chennai Super Kings reached a point of no return. His captaincy too seemed lacking in spark, and often he seemed too rigid to change the game plan. The lone bright spot was his still sharp skills behind the wicket.
3. Under utilisation of young players
The Chennai Super Kings is a team that try to stick to same set of players for a longer duration, chopping and changing is not their wont. But in the IPL 2020 that trait came back to haunt them. Shane Watson and Ravindra Jadeja had started so slowly and it took nearly five games for them to fall into the strides. By then, CSK had fallen so far behind some other teams like Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore, outfits they dominated with ease in the past. There was a reluctance to bring fresher legs like N Jagadeesan, R Sai Kishore and Ruturaj Gaikwad. Even while some of them were given a chance, they did not get a longer run.
4. Strange tactics
The Super Kings have been a pioneer in bringing in some patented tactics to IPL. Remember that bizarre placing of Matthew Hayden on the field in the IPL 2010! But those have become old tales. Sam Curran has been their outstanding player, contributing with both bat and ball. Despite showing a good hitting form, Curran was persisted with batting lower down the order and got promoted to opening after 7 games. Similarly, Imran Tahir, the Purple Cap winner of IPL 2019, is still warming the benches. He was not even tried when Dwayne Bravo was absent with a knee injury.