Lower than the season in the UAE may have colored their applause IPL record, but the three-time champions led by “Tala” MS Dhoni, will seek to bring back the old in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
After Donnie closed his boots for a 16-year glorious career for India, fans hoped to see bigger things in IPL 2020. However, things did not work out as CSK finished seventh, missing out on the playoffs for the first time. Since the creation of the IPL, the Chennai team has held the records for most playoffs (10) and finals (8).
From many CSK contingent members testing positive for COVID-19, to missing player services such as It’s raining and Harbhajan Singh – The Yellow Army also had to deal with a few hiccups. Dhoni himself had a forgetful season with the willow, scoring only 200 tracks in 14 games averaging 25. However, Dhoni had made it clear in CSK’s last IPL 2020 race that this was “definitely not” his last appearance in the yellow jersey. .
With a few additions for this year, CSK will turn its attention to the fourth IPL trophy. During a recent mini-auction earlier this year, CSK acquired the English wagon Mouen Ali for INR 7 crores, excluding the universal K Gowtham in Karnataka (INR 9.25 INR) and Cheteshwar Pujara (50 GEL INR). The Yellow Army also got Batman Tamil Nadu C Hari Nishaanth, Harishankar Reddy and Bhagath Varma (all for INR 20 nail polish).
CSK also released part of the old guard. While Shane Weston announced retirement of all forms, Pius Chaula, Mural Vijay and Harbhajan Singh have ceased their associations. Although the average age of the current CSK team is at the upper end, they have prospects like Ruturaj Gaikwad in the wadding department. The 22-year-old batsman had scored 204 runs in six games last season, including three consecutive half-centuries.
CSK can go with Ruturaj on top, with both Faf du Plessis or Robin Utapa as his partner. Uthappa, traded in Chennai by Rajasthan Royals before the IPL 2021 auction, was in sensational shape. In the last six matches of List A, Uthappa has scored two tons and two and a half centuries for Kerala. Pujara, who is playing in the IPL for the first time since 2014, will also be eager to get as much playing time as possible.
After missing the last IPL season, CSK vice-captain Raina will compete to leave this year. The left-hander is among the best results in the tournament, having scored 5368 runs in 193 matches so far. Raina will support the CSK watt unit along with Ambati Rayuda and Moeen Ali in positions # 4 and # 5. Rayudu, who scored 359 tracks in 12 games, was among CSK’s top performers last season. The new recruit Ali is also in decent shape, producing six completed cameos in Chennai’s test against India. Quilting at number 9, Ali hit five sixes and three fours in his 18-ball 43, and the explosive shot also showed three consecutive sixes from debutant Aksar Patel.
The bottom row will be reassured by the experienced duo of Ravindra Jadeja and skipper Donnie, followed by Sam Quran in uniform. The Universal played a brilliant knock in the ODI series against India, hitting an undefeated 95 and single-handedly dragging England back into the game. Similarly, Jadeja, recovering from a thumb injury, was impressive during the tour in Australia.
Given his ability to fight, Shardul Thakur in 9th place will be extremely comfortable for CSK’s country. Shardul will probably work in tandem with Deepak Chahar. If CSK also accommodates Lungi Ngidi (foreign selection not available to the opener) in the final stages of the tournament, du Plessis will give way to Utapa at the top.
CSK will miss the services of Australian fast Josh Hazelwood, who decided to retire from the IPL, given the hectic international schedule in 2021. On the bowling front, this will be a stir between Imran Tahir and K Gowtham. They also have Mitchell Santner as a useful multilateral option.
While the IPL 2021 is set to begin on April 9 in Chennai, the Dhoni-led CSK will launch its campaign later in the evening when it takes over last season’s runners-up, Delhi Capitals, at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Chennai will play its first five matches in Mumbai before playing its next four in Feroz Shah Kotla of Delhi.
CSK will then play three games in Bengaluru before completing its Kolkata league goals with two games. Their last match will be against the southern rivals Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
Full team of Chennai Super Kings (CSK):
Faf du Plessis, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, N. Jagadeesan (wk), Robin Uthappa, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, R. Sai Kishore, Mitchell Santner, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Lungi Ngidi, KM Asif, Moeen Ali, K Gowtham, Cheteshwar Pujara, M Harisankar Reddy, K. Bhagath Varma, C Hari Nishanth
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) predicts game XI:
Robin Utapa /Faf du Plessis
MS Dhoni (C & WK)
Sam Quran / Duane Bravo
Imran Tahir /To the Goths