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Chennai Super Kings Preview: Don’t rule out MS Dhoni’s team yet

CSK have been champions with the same side before, can they do it in IPL 2020?

Chennai Super Kings are one of the consistent top performers in the Indian Premier League having qualified for the top four in every edition they have played. There were lots of controversies around the franchise and this year also they started on a rather unpleasant note as a big chunk of their touring party to UAE tested COVID positive. However, they have put that behind now and are ready to play the opening match on Saturday against their bitter rival Mumbai Indians. Mahendra Singh Dhoni led side has lots of big international stars and should do well in the conditions like UAE. However, how some of their aged stars perform will be interesting to see.

Squad
MS Dhoni, Narayan Jagadeesan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, KM Asif , Ravindra Jadeja, M Vijay, Josh Hazlewood, Kedar Jadhav, Karn Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Ambati Rayudu, Imran Tahir , Deepak Chahar, Faf du Plessis, Shardul Thakur, Mitchell Santner, Dwayne Bravo, Lungi Ngidi, Sam Curran, Monu Kumar, Shane Watson, Sai Kishore

Captain: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Head Coach: Stephen Fleming

Batting Coach: Michael Hussey

Bowling Coach: Lakshmipathy Balaji

Bowling Consultant: Eric Simons

Fielding Coach: Rajiv Kumar

Physiotherapist: Tommy Simsek

Trainer: Gregory King

Team Manager: R Russell

Strengths
They have one of the strongest bowling attacks in the IPL. Their plethora of spinners generally thrive in the slow pitches of Chennai and they should find similar conditions in UAE. Although they will miss Harbhajan Singh, their new signing Piyush Chawla is a proven IPL performer who is the third highest wicket taker in the IPL history. Chawla and Imran Tahir are expected to lead their spin bowling pack and get key support from Ravindra Jadeja. They also signed the very exciting R Sai Kishore in the last IPL auction who should also play at some stage. They have the option of Mitchell Santner who played pretty well in the CPL. Their pace bowling attack will be led by Deepak Chahar and international stars like Lungi Ngidi and Josh Hazlewood.

Weaknesses
Suresh Raina’s withdrawal is a huge blow for them and now they must look out for alternate options like Murali Vijay or Ruturaj Gaikwad to bat at the top order. This can make their batting line up slightly inexperienced. Also, how consistently their aged stars like Shane Watson, MS Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo, and Imran Tahir can deliver in UAE will be interesting to see. Dhoni has hardly played any cricket since India’s 2019 World Cup semi-final loss and how he motivates himself post his retirement from International cricket will be an interesting sub-plot in the CSK story this year.

Fantasy tips
Chennai Super Kings have some of the most popular overseas picks in Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, and Imran Tahir and despite their age, all of them should remain key picks. With Suresh Raina being absent, Ambati Rayudu is expected to play an important role and may bat at top of the order and accumulate points. Among their youngsters, Ruturaj Gaykwad can be a good option in lesser price, once he starts featuring in the XI

Predicted XI
Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawala, Imran Tahir.

A Masters in Mass Communication is following her passion for cricket through writing. Primarily a PR person who loves to write absolutely anything and everything about cricket.

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