Chennai Super Kings have been the most consistent team in IPL history making it through to the knockout stages every single season.
Such has been their dominance that they reached the final five out of six times.
One of the key reasons behind their success is due to the presence of quality Indian players in their team. Though they did not retain Murali Vijay or Subramaniam Badrinath, their team as always looks very strong - at least on paper.
The skipper MS Dhoni has been leading since the inaugural season and the nucleus of the team is still intact; that consists of Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and the captain himself.
During this year’s auction they didn’t retain Michael Hussey who has been so successful for them and that raised many eyebrows but quite smartly they bought another dashing opener in the form of Brendon McCullum.
It will be interesting to see how the newly-acquired Dwayne Smith performs for Chennai, he has been quite successful as an opener for Mumbai Indians but in this season he will in all probability open with McCullum.
The middle order too looks quite strong with players like Raina, Faf du Plessis, Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo, not to forget the batting capabilities of Jadeja and Ashwin. All in all a very strong batting lineup for sub-continent conditions which will expect to chase anything.
The area of concern for them is the unavailability of match-winning fast bowlers who can take wickets up front or bowl effectively during the death overs. Even though they have overseas fast bowlers like Ben Hilfenhaus and Matt Henry, there are lots of question marks about their ability to provide an impact in sub-continent conditions.
I don’t see much of a role for John Hastings either; the fast bowling department will be heavily relying on Indian talents and the likes of Mohit Sharma, Ishwar Pandey and veteran Ashish Nehra has to lead the way.
Unlike the pace department they have plenty of spin options - Ashwin, Jadeja and newly added leggie Samuel Badree (which is a great buy) that will come very handy.
Like every IPL, they are the team to beat and if the pacers bowl well, we might see Chennai Super Kings winning yet again.
© Cricket World 2014