IPL 2020: CSK Team Preview - Trust MS Dhoni's magic to make Chennai whole greater than sum of its parts
Chennai Super Kings are among the most successful teams in the Indian Premier League, having won three IPL titles in 2010, 2011 and 2018.
The team has been the most consistent franchise, having made it to the playoffs in all of their seasons, apart from the two years when they were suspended.
Raina leaves void at No. 3
Suresh Raina's absence will bring a void in the Chennai Super Kings batting order. But if you look through the spectacles of an analyst, the void would be more of familiarity and less in terms of numbers. Raina has been a consistent feature for Chennai at 3 over the years but what he provided in terms of pure numbers can be substituted.
Rejig in CSK batting order
Raina's absence though will lead to a rejig in the batting order. Murali Vijay is likely to open the batting with Shane Watson. If the move does not bear fruit, Chennai can go to young Tamil Nadu batsman N Jagadeesan or upcoming star Ruturaj Gaikwad.
Chennai also have the option of going in with Faf du Plessis as well but that will then prevent them from playing an extra overseas bowler, who can be better utilised. Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav will follow at 3 and 4, with skipper MS Dhoni at 5 as the finisher.
Dhoni, the finisher
Dhoni, for all his lean patches in international cricket, has always been a force in the IPL and that hasn't changed in the recent past as well. In 2018, he averaged over 75 with 455 runs from 16 games and batted at a strike rate of over 150. Last year as well, he scored 416 runs at an average of 83.20 and a strike rate of almost 135, which are brilliant numbers.
Sam Curran to be Bravo's understudy
CSK have young England all-rounder Sam Curran whom they'd like to use, perhaps later in the tournament. However, Dhoni is likely to start with Dwayne Bravo and move to Curran only if the veteran all-rounder does not perform consistently.
Tahir to complement Jadeja and Chawla
Ravindra Jadeja and Piyush Chawla are the Indian spinners likely to make CSK's starting XI. They have another leg spin option in Karn Sharma but seasoned leggie Imran Tahir is likely to be preferred over him.
Chahar over Thakur
There is room for only one of Deepak Chahar or Shardul Thakur. For his ability to move the ball upfront and give the team one or two wickets in the powerplay, Chahar is likely to win that race. KM Asif, who is capable of bowling some serious heat, is a spare bowler in the CSK squad.
This leaves Chennai with one overseas bowling slot. They have two good options in Lungi Ngidi and Josh Hazlewood whom they can play alternately.
Probable Starting XI
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) - Shane Watson, Murali Vijay/N Jagadeesan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwyane Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi/Josh Hazlewood
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) - MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla, Dwayne Bravo, Sam Curran, Karn Sharma, Shane Watson, Shardul Thakur, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Murali Vijay, Josh Hazlewood, Francois Du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, KM Asif, Narayan Jagadeesan, Monu Kumar, Ruturaj Gaikwad, R. Sai Kishore
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