The Chennai Super Kings (CSK), hands down, are the most popular franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Their fan-following has been unprecedented over the years and growing exponentially.
CSK’s charm in the league was brought forth during their triumphant return after a two-year hiatus in the 2018 season.
Part of their colossal following is because CSK is the most successful team in the competition. CSK have reached the playoffs/semi-finals in each edition of the tournament and have won three-titles, thus far.
The opening game of IPL 2020, is scheduled between arch-rivals CSK and Mumbai Indians (MI) on September 19, at Abu Dhabi in the UAE.
All eyes will be on CSK talisman MS Dhoni, who recently drew curtains to his glorious international career. Watching Dhoni play will be a treat for the spectators only in IPL T20, henceforth.
Today, let’s have a look at the ideal playing XI for CSK:
Openers: Shane Watson and Murali Vijay
After a successful stint at Rajasthan Royals (RR), Watson made a move to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in IPL 2016. During the mega-auctions of IPL 2018, CSK franchise bagged the services of the experienced all-rounder.
Watson, a renowned big-match player, single-handedly won CSK the final of the 2018 edition with a ton. Then, in the final of last season, Watson registered a magnificent ton in a losing cause and with a bleeding knee.
Yet again, Watson will hold the key in the upcoming season for CSK. Ideally, the Australian should pair up with former Test opener Murali Vijay for the opening slot.
Middle-order: Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav
The absence of Suresh Raina will be felt for CSK this season. The UP stalwart had made the number three slot his own. Raina is amongst the all-time leading run-scorers in the IPL.
For CSK, the experience of Ambati Rayudu and Faf du Plessis would help cover the void left by Raina.
It will be interesting to see how Dhoni will feature in the IPL 2020. The recently-retired international cricket has not played in a competitive game for more than a year now.
Kedar Jadhav’s role as a finisher will remain crucial for CSK. He can also chip in with a couple of overs as a filler for a main-bowler, who’d have a bad day at the office.
All-rounders: Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla
Ravindra Jadeja is the premier all-rounder for MSD, whose three-dimensional contributions will be pivotal for the ‘Yellow Army’.
The absence of Harbhajan Singh would mean a longer stint for Piyush Chawla donning the yellows in IPL 2020.
Dhoni also has the option of choosing from Karn Sharma and R Sai Kishore for the spinners’ role.
Bowlers: Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir
The new ball will be ideally shared between Deepak Chahar and Lungi Ngidi. MSD has the option of trying out Shardul Thakur and KM Asif with Chahar and replacing Ngidi with all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.
The Chennai Super Kings have an array of bowling options to choose from in all fronts. Head Coach Stephen Fleming is likely to experiment with New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner in place of Tahir.
The other bowling option Fleming and Co. would definitely look at is premium pacer Josh Hazlewood, coming in place of Ngidi.
Here is CSK’s ideal playing XI:
- Shane Watson: Matches: 134 Runs: 3575 HS: 117* 100’s: 4 50’s: 19 Wkt: 92 Econ: 7.93
- Murali Vijay: Matches: 103 Runs: 2587 HS: 127 100’s: 2 50’s: 13
- Ambati Rayudu: Matches: 147 Runs: 3300 HS: 100* 100’s: 1 50’s: 18
- Faf du Plessis: Matches: 71 Runs: 1853 Avg: 31.40 SR: 126.74 50’s: 12
- MS Dhoni: Matches: 190 Runs: 4432 Avg: 42.20 50’s: 23 6’s: 209 Ct: 98
- Kedar Jadhav: Matches: 79 Runs: 1079 Avg: 22.95 SR: 126.49 50’s: 4
- Ravindra Jadeja: Matches: 170 Runs:1927 Wkt: 108 BF: 5/16 Econ: 7.57 4w: 3 5w:1
- Piyush Chawla: Matches: 157 Runs: 584 Wkt: 150 BF: 4/17 Econ: 7.82 4w:2
- Deepak Chahar: Matches: 34 Wkt: 33 BF: 3/15 Econ: 7.63 Bowl SR: 20.84
- Lungi Ngidi: Matches: 7 Wkt: 11 BF: 4/10 Econ: 6.00 Bowl SR: 14.18 4w: 1
- Imran Tahir: Matches: 55 Wkt: 79 BF: 4/12 Econ: 7.88 4w: 3