Chennai Super Kings : Probable Playing XI and Team Analysis
One of the most successful teams in the history of Indian Premier League (IPL), Chennai Super Kings (CSK) is all set for yet another season of the world's most popular T20 franchise tournament. Chennai will face their long time rivals Mumbai Indians in the opening match of the IPL 2020.
Led by former Indian captain MS Dhoni, Chennai will look this as an opportunity to add yet another title and make it 4 IPL titles to their name. The team is highly likely to finish in the top four in league stage and can even turn out to be the champions.
The dependable pair of Ambati Rayudu and Shane Watson are highly likely to open the innings for Chennai. Watson was backed by the team in last season despite having a bad run in league matches. Watson came back strong in qualifier 2 and final to score back to back half centuries. After giving decent performances from Mumbai Indians, Rayudu joined CSK in 2018. Rayudu was brilliant in his first season with CSK in 2018 but was below par in 2019 season.
Suresh Raina pulling out of the tournament is a huge setback for the team. Raina has been a prolific performer throughout the history of IPL. In Raina's absence, South African batsman Faf du Plessis will most like come in at number 3. du Plessis may not be someone who is a big hitter or whom you expect to go after the bowlers straight away. But the way du Plessis goes about scoring runs make him someone you can depend even in shortest version of the game.
The skipper MS Dhoni is always someone to watch out for. Having retired from international cricket recently, the legendary wicketkeeper batsman might come up the order this time. His finishing abilities along with influencial captaincy will have a huge role to play on deciding the fate of CSK in the tournament.
Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja will play as premier allrounder for the team. Both Bravo and Jadeja both have time and again proved their worth in all three departments bowling, batting and fielding. The duo will hold the key in lower order for Chennai.
Kedar Jadhav and Shane Watson aren't utilized much often with their bowling but the slower pitches in UAE might entice Dhoni to go for them. Jadhav's low side-arm bowling can be more than handy in breaking partnerships and picking up crucial wickets.
CSK has another option in the name of Mitchell Santner who can be equally effective with his left arm orthodox spin. Santner can be handy with the bat in the lower order too.
Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir, Josh Hazlewood, Karn Sharma, KM Asif, Lungi Ngidi, Monu Kumar, Piyush Chawla, R Sai Kishore, Shardul Thakur
MS Dhoni is always known for backing up his players as a captain. Deepak Chahar is someone who Dhoni has backed up in recent times. Chahar can be perfect option looking at the playing conditions in UAE and in case the pitch assists him, he could be more lethal for any opposition.
CSK has varieties of options in pace department including Lungi Ngidi, Shardul Thakur and Josh Hazlewood. But looking at the limitation of 4 quota of foreign players, I would expect Shardul Thakur to assist Deepak in pace attack. Purple Cap winner from latest edition of IPL Imran Tahir definitely deserves a place in playing eleven. We all are expecting spinners to play a significant role in this season, a quality spinner in the name of Tahir can be very beneficial for the team.
Harbhajan Singh is another big name who will be missing this tournament for CSK along with Raina. But CSK would be pretty happy to bring in Piyush Chawala from the auction. The leg spinner Chawala was brought in by Chennai for 6.75 crore after Kolkata Knight Riders released him after below par 2019 season. However, Piyush was a crucial member of title winning KKR team in 2012 and 2014.
Probable Playing XI
- Shane Watson
- Ambati Rayudu
- Faf du Plessis
- MS Dhoni
- Kedar Jadhav
- Dwayne Bravo
- Ravindra Jadeja
- Piyush Chawala
- Deepak Chahar
- Shardul Thakur
- Imran Tahir
Looking at the probable eleven, CSK seems to have all the basics covered. Their spin attack looks solid with Imran Tahir, Piyush Chawala and Ravindra Jadeja along with guys like Mitchell Santner and Karn Sharma. And not to forget there is a special man MS Dhoni behind the stumps who is always in the game whether he is batting or keeping wickets. Dhoni's unmatched capability in reading game and handling pressure situations will have a special role in Chennai's journey in the tournament.
The experience this team has with the likes of Dhoni, Watson, du Plessis and Bravo makes CSK the most experienced side of IPL 2020. The concerns for Chennai however will probably be their fielding and pace attack. With an exception to Ravindra Jadeja, the old guns won't find it easy to show the same level of energy in the field as expected. With the departure of Raina, the fielding might suffer even more.
CSK is the only team which has qualified for playoffs in every IPL season they have been a part of. One can't underestimate this team's chances in this season too. As far as my views are concerned, Chennai will qualify for the playoffs and might as well lift the title.
The team selection and analysis done is purely personal opinion of the writer.