IPL 2021 CSK Team Preview and Predictions: Wobbling Chennai Super Kings look to hand skipper MS Dhoni winning farewell
With IPL 2021 set to be the last playing season for legendary skipper MS Dhoni, for all practical purposes, Chennai would want nothing short of a championship title to mark Dhoni's farewell.
Shake-up after poor IPL 2020
The last season was the worst ever for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. The team finished at the seventh spot, just avoiding the wooden spoon courtesy of a late dash.
The team has let go of Piyush Chawla, Kedar Jadhav, Murali Vijay and Harbhajan Singh before IPL 2021 while veteran opener Shane Watson decided to hang his boots. In return, they acquired a few impressive players in the auctions including quality spin bowling all rounders, one Indian and one overseas, in Krishnappa Gowtham and Moeen Ali.
Dhoni's numbers on a decline
With the Chennai squad set to be overhauled post this edition, with the mega auctions for the next three years of the IPL waiting to happen, and MS Dhoni almost certainly playing his last IPL edition this year, it is a make or break season for Chennai Super Kings.
Dhoni himself did not have a great season in IPL 2021 and managed just 200 runs from 14 matches at an average of 25 and a strike rate of 116.27. With much more time for preparation in the lead-up to the season, he is expected to finish on a high.
CSK will open with Faf du Plessis, who was the top run scorer for Chennai last year and Ruturaj Gaikwad, who is one of the leading batsmen in the Indian domestic circuit. In limited opportunities last year, he showed with consecutive half centuries what he is capable of.
The return of Suresh Raina is a big talking point in the Chennai camp. Having not been a regular in the competitive circuit, Suresh Raina has a big task ahead of him of maintaining his form, fitness and consistency.
Raina will have the company of Ambati Rayudu and Ravindra Jadeja in the middle order. MS Dhoni, Moeen Ali and Sam Curran will be in the role of finishers for the franchise.
Onus on Thakur, Chahar
Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar will be the leading Indian pace bowlers for CSK. The team is likely to pick Lungi Ngidi ahead of Imran Tahir as their fourth overseas player. However, he might be unavailable for the first fixture.
To be honest, Chennai Super Kings do not appear to be making the final this year, given the squad that they have managed to put together, but with MS Dhoni still present, it will be too audacious to say anything for sure.
Top Batsman - Runs Scored - Ambati Rayudu
Top Bowler - Wickets Taken - Sam Curran
Most Sixes - Suresh Raina
Predicted starting XI
Chennai Super Kings – Faf du Plessis, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar & Imran Tahir.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) - MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, N Jagadeesan, Robin Uthappa, Sam Curran, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, R Sai Kishore, Mitchell Santner, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Lungi Ngidi, KM Asif, Moeen Ali, K Gowtham, Cheteshwar Pujara, M Harisankar Reddy, K Bhagath Varma, C Hari Nishanth
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