After experienced a tough two-year suspension period, the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) came storming back to win their third Indian Premier League (IPL) title last year. The defending champions will be locking horns with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening game of the 12th edition of the IPL scheduled to start on March 23 in Chennai. The three time champions will be hoping to make history in the upcoming IPL season, winning their fourth title and in turn becoming the first franchise to achieve the milestone.
At the auction for IPL 2019, Chennai Super Kings team picked only two players in Mohit Sharma and Ruturaj Gaikwad. They went into the auction proceedings with 23 players already finalized and thus, had the option of picking up a maximum of two cricketers to complete their line-up of 25.
Chennai Super Kings’ likely starting XI
The experienced duo comprising of Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu will open the batting for CSK once again in the upcoming season. Watson ended as the most valuable player for his franchise, amassing a remarkable tally of 555 runs at a powerful strike-rate of 141.20 which included a sensational match-winning hundred in 2018 finale encounter. Whereas it would be quite a defining season for Rayudu, as he desperately needs to deliver some mind-blowing performances that too during the opening matches, in order to secure his spot in the Indian team for the 2019 World Cup. He opened as well as played at the No.4 spot in the previous edition, but this year he is likely to bat up the order in the starting XI as while opening the batting, he will have the best chance to play some big innings.
CSK skipper MS Dhoni will be leading the middle-order along with the likes of Suresh Raina and Kedar Jadhav. After struggling with his form and fitness in the previous season, Raina will be taking up the crucial No.3 spot and would be eyeing to contribute with the best of his abilities. Jadhav played just one game last year, before being ruled out for the entire season due to a hamstring injury. He would surely be raring to play the complete season which will also offer him with a great preparation before the World Cup.
Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who earlier announced his retirement for international cricket, along with left-arm spin bowling all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja will be the two all-rounders in the CSK starting XI. Apart from playing a spectacular match-winning inning in the opening game of IPL 2018 against the Mumbai Indians, Bravo scalped 14 wickets with the ball, but still ended the previous season with a very poor economy rate of 9.96. On the other hand, Jadeja picked up 11 wickets in 16 games last year.
The trio of Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi and Shardul Thakur will be the most probable starters in the fast bowling department. All these three pacers did an excellent job for CSK last year and the team management would be expecting a similar performance from them in the coming season. Proteas leg-spinner Imran Tahir will partner Jadeja in the spin bowling department. The South African leggie delivered some significant performances in the minimal number of opportunities, he got last season.
Probable XI: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c &wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir.