Chennai Super Kings: IPL 2020 Preview

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It might be the last season for MSD and many players in the Chennai franchise. They would like to end their IPL career on a good note. 

The dad’s army is what they call them: the Chennai Super Kings. The three-times champions, eight-times finalist, and ten-times semi-finalist did not have much to do this time around in the 2020 IPL auction. After the heartbreaking loss in the 2019 IPL finals, by one run, the Chennai franchise has released – Sam Billings, David Willey, Mohit Sharma, Dhruv Shorey and Chaitanya Bishnoi – 5 players in total. No structural changes took place with Fleming still as the head coach and MSD as the captain. Even before the auction, the CSK army looks ready to seek to avenge for last time’s finals defeat. 

Many thought they would go for young Indian talent – probable backups for Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu, who haven’t been playing in the domestic circuits – but, once again the CSK management sprung in a surprise. They bought veteran Piyush Chawla at a whopping 6.4 crores: the most expensive Indian buy in the auction. Most might not understand this intention, but with the mega auction coming up next time around, they probably preferred experience to youth for this year’s IPL. They also have the services of Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, an accurate left spinner from Tamil Nadu. However with Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santer, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, and now Piyush Chawla- 6 potent spinners – already in the side it doesn’t make much sense to draft another spinner. Well, that’s CSK for you. 

However, their best buy was that of Josh Hazlewood at base price. They needed an overseas bowler who could bowl a minimum of 3 overs upfront, and with the recent test match form Hazlewood has manifested, it seems a logical buy. He may serve as a backup to Lungi Ngidi, another South African pacer who has been under a cloud of injuries in the past two years. Their final buy was Sam Curran at a whopping 5.5 crores. He may not be a part of starting XI, but will most likely serve as a backup to Dwayne Bravo. Bravo struggled in the death overs last time around, and with his fitness issues, CSK needed to keep ready a backup. Sam Curran can also open the innings if either Faf or Watson gets injured throughout the tournament. 

However, for the past two years, CSK’s biggest issue has been their death bowling. The rise of Deepak Chahar in the international circuit will benefit them a lot. If Bravo can replicate what he has been doing year after year then, Chennai will have no gaps to fill heading in the 2020 IPL. Overall, the unit is a very balanced one and is a strong contender to lift the coveted trophy this time around. 

My starting XI – 

Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni(wk)(c), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, KM Asif/Piyush Chawla, Imran Tahir. 

  • Most would be wondering why I have included KM Asif in the starting XI. Chennai’s first match is likely to be at the Wankhede against the Mumbai Indians. MSD would like to go in with four pacers and two spinners for a track like Wankhede. Otherwise, he can take the gamble by playing three spinners at the Wankhede. Another option available at his disposal is to sit Watson out and replace him with Murali Vijay and play Lungi Ngidi as the X factor bowler. 

Other serious contenders for the starting XI – 

Kedar Jadhav, Lungi Ngidi

My prediction – 

The CSK unit looks a very settled one, and I feel they will continue their dominance in the IPL and finish either 1st or 2nd on the points table. 

Please feel free to post your opinions in the comments section. 

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