Chennai Super Kings (CSK) is the most successful and consistent team in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL). CSK have qualified for the playoffs every season they have played. They won the 2018 title by defeating Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and finished as the runners-up after losing to Mumbai Indians (MI) by just one run in IPL 2019.
Like every season, fans would be expecting to see CSK winning the IPL trophy again. The biggest strength of the ‘team yellow’ is that they are quite loyal towards their players, and that helps in raising the confidence of cricketers to perform at crucial stages.
The MS Dhoni-led side didn’t make any significant changes in the IPL 2020 auction. Their top picks were Sam Curran, Piyush Chawla, Josh Hazlewood, and Sai Kishore.
CSK’s squad is full of experienced players, and the coach Stephen Fleming would be hoping to see the players performing up to the mark as they did in the past couple of years. Now, let’s have a look at the best possible combination for the three-time champions.
Chennai have retained their star players like Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis, who have opened the innings for the team in the past. But since CSK have also bought overseas cricketers like Hazlewood and Curran, so only one batsman could be given a chance at the top.
Watson took part in the 2019 Abu Dhabi T10 league and finished at the second place (237 runs) among the run-getters. Faf, on the other hand, had a good Mzansi Super League, but at present, he’s not in his prime touch. So, considering Watson’s current form, he will play the upcoming season as an opener.
For Watson’s partner, Ambati Rayudu is an excellent option for CSK management. Rayudu played as an opener during the 2018 season. In 147 matches, the right-hander has scored 3300 runs with one hundred and 18 half-centuries.
CSK’s leading-run scorer Suresh Raina will bat at No.3 position. In overall most run-getters list, Raina with 5368 runs is at the second spot after Virat Kohli, who has 5412 runs. The left-handed batsman is also at the second place in most fifties list. David Warner tops the list with 44 half-centuries while Raina has 38.
For the No.4 position, Kedar Jadhav is the best candidate. In 79 games, Jadhav has clubbed 1079 runs, with 69 being his highest score. The Pune-born cricketer also solidifies the middle-order of the team.
Skipper MS Dhoni and all-rounder Dwayne Bravo can hold the lower middle order and bring stability to the side, especially in circumstances when the top players fail to perform. In 134 appearances, Bravo has scored 1483 runs and taken 147 wickets.
This time CSK roped in England all-rounder Sam Curran, during the auction. Curran’s inclusion in the playing XI will give more depth to CSK’s batting line-up, and he is handy with the ball as well.
Among bowlers, Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur are the two Indian seamers, while South Africa’s Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja are the specialist spinners. Tahir was also CSK’s leading wicket-taker in the last season. The best thing about this combination is that Jadeja is a proper batsman while Thakur can swing his arms to collect runs in quick time.
Here is CSK’s best XI for IPL 2020:
Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (c), Dwayne Bravo, Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir.
MS Dhoni (c), Suresh Raina, Narayan Jagadeesan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, KM Asif, Ravindra Jadeja, Murali Vijay, Josh Hazlewood, Kedar Jadhav, Harbhajan Singh, 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.