CSK's preparation was dealt with a massive blow after Raina and Harbhajan pulled out of IPL 2020.
MS Dhoni will lead his troops in the 13th season of IPL, starting September 19.
One of the most visceral thrills of watching cricket is the triumph of underdogs. Along with immense amazement, it also brings a certain sense of disorientation in the orderly realms of the sports. The traditional format of the game rarely offers such spectacles. White-ball cricket does treat us with thrilling encounters, but not as regularly as it is observed in the shortest form of the game.
Perhaps this is why T20 cricket has become fan’s favourite in such a short period. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the commencement of Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008 catalyzed the ascendancy of T20 format.
Rajasthan Royals (RR) stunned the cricketing sphere by winning the inaugural edition of the league. Thereafter, numerous franchises went on to grab the championship title.
Under the leadership of MS Dhoni, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) emerged victorious on as many as three occasions, despite never being considered favourites to win the league.
Fast forward to 2020, and the situation is not much different for the Chennai-based franchise. They have already lost their vice-captain, Suresh Raina, for the upcoming IPL. Raina pulled out his name, citing some personal reasons.
And if Raina’s departure was not enough, veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh too withdrew his name from the IPL 2020.
The journey already looks treacherous for the Dhoni-led side, but it would be just too early to rule them out. They still have a vast reservoir of experienced players who can make things happen.
In a build-up to 2020 edition of the cash-rich league, let’s look at the top five players who can help CSK regain the IPL title.
1.) Dwayne Bravo
Dwayne Bravo has been among the most crucial components of CSK’s machinery since 2011.
Dhoni will be heavily reliant on Bravo’s mastery with the ball, especially in the death overs. The Windies all-rounder has picked 147 wickets in 134 IPL matches
The Trinidadian is equally adept with the bat. He usually comes lower down the order, and entertains fans with his explosive cameos. Bravo’s expertise and virtuosity will be a blessing for CSK.
2.) Ambati Rayudu
Ambati Rayudu is a prolific run-getter in the IPL, and he plied his trade for Mumbai Indians until 2017. CSK acquired Rayudu in 2018 and he repaid the faith by amassing 602 runs at a remarkable average of 43.01.
Last season, the Guntur-born blew hot and cold, aggregating 282 runs in 17 matches.
Rayudu is a versatile cricketer who can bat at multiple positions. His consistency and aggression might drive CSK to their fourth title.
3.) Shane Watson
Shane Watson won the ‘Player of the Tournament’ in the very first edition of the league while plying his trade for Rajasthan Royals (RR). Since then, the Aussie has been a vital cog of the squad for numerous franchises.
One can’t forget Watson’s blitzkrieg in the business end of the tournament in 2019. His explosive knock of 80 runs in the final almost won the IPL title for CSK. He will be hoping to replicate the same sort of performances this year as well.
4.) MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni is the most unsurprising inclusion in the list. ‘Captain Cool’ had a terrific season with the bat in IPL 2019, where he scored 416 runs at a stellar average of above 83. Dhoni finished the season as the leading run-getter for his franchise.
Dhoni’s captaincy with the bat along with his astute leadership will play a vital role for CSK. The fans will definitely look forward to his aggressive batting, out-of-the-box captaincy and lightning-quick reflexes behind the stumps.
5.) Lungi Ngidi
Standing 6’4″, Lungi Ngidi is a tall fast-bowler hailing from South Africa. CSK acquired him in 2018, but the pacer played only seven matches in his debut season.
Ngidi put on a stellar show where he picked 11 wickets at an impressive average of 14.18 in 2018. However, he missed the entirety of the next season due to a nagging injury.
Ngidi will be back once again to spearhead the pace attack at CSK.