CSK vs MI: The Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to kick off with a crackerjack opener between the finalists of the last year, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians. As Chennai Super Kings will have a few bones to pick with their counterparts as Mumbai won the final last year by a slender margin of a solitary run.
We will try and map the probable XI for CSK which may be fielded by Chennai in their pursuit of vengeance against one of the most successful teams of the fray in the recent years. With Raina and Harbhajan opting out of the tournament citing personal reasons, it will be interesting to see how Chennai will line up in their bid to equal the number of IPL trophies against their most formidable opponents.
CSK’s Opening Combination: Shane Watson and Faf Du Plessis
The veteran duo of Watson and du Plessis will play a very crucial role for Chennai to kickstart proceedings. Given Watson’s hitting flair, he will eye the fielding restrictions to amass as many runs as he can while u Plessis will provide him with the needed support. Once the South-African gets going, the duo can plunder runs at will as both are established batsmen, specialized in the shortest format of the game.
Watson’s bowling prowess is also something that the team will rely a lot on as he is an extremely miserly fast bowler and also an industrious wicket-taker who can break crucial partnerships whenever needed.
CSK’s Middle Order:
Ambati Rayudu, Ruturaj Gaikwad, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo
Rayudu has proven himself over the years in the colours of Chennai as he was a part of several match-defining partnerships for the Yellow army. His expressive strokeplay laced with some brutal hitting in the death overs makes him a crowd favourite.
Ruturaj Gaikwad had an early scare right before the onset of the fray as he tested positive for the Coronavirus. However, the young lad will be seen in full bloom as his quarantine period will end by the 12th where a repeat test will be done. Gaikwad is an extremely young prospect and a very exciting batsman to watch. He is known for those classic drives and when time needs him to go big, he will not hesitate.
The most anticipated moment of the match will be when the former Indian skipper will walk out in the middle again after a wait of more than a year. Up next in the lineup will be Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the man at whom the entire nation will look forward to. One more swing of that bat, one more classic drive and one more wild slash at the helicopter, this man can be CSK’s key to rising.
India’s best all-rounder at the moment, the hero who led India’s resurgence in the 2019 World Cup final will be out at number six to smash big. Jadeja is a perfect blend of everything as he reads the game very adeptly to adjust his innings accordingly.
The West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo will be filling in the number seven spot for CSK. Though the Caribbean hard-hitter is a shadow of his former scintillating self, he can still invoke storm upon the opposition bowlers. Alongside his batting finesse, he is also a fine bowler and a terrific fielder. His quota of four overs will be imperative to shape up the outcome of the match.
Piyush Chawla, Josh Hazlewood, Deepak Chahar, R Sai Kishore
Chawla is an experienced campaigner in the IPL who has proven himself previously with some rip-roaring outings. He is also one of the most successful spinners of IPL with 150 wickets from 157 games. He can also throw the bat around for considerable time while another batsman can look to build. In the absence of Harbhajan, he will lead the attack for CSK.
Josh Hazlewood is a part of the Australian fast-bowling trio that has left the world spooked with some brutal pace and capricious swing, leaving the batsmen dazed and confused even in the flattest pitches of all. He will be the spearhead of the fast bowling unit for CSK.
Deepak Chahar is a budding talent of the country as his medium pace has bedevilled a lot of batsmen over the last year, including the best of the lot. The primary weapon in his arsenal is that slow bouncer that leaves a lot of batsmen uncomfortable.
It wasn’t an easy call to pick Sai Kishore over Shardul Thakur, however, considering the fact that the UAE pitches are extremely conducive to slow bowlers, the youngster must notch up his CSK debut. It will be a big opportunity for this youngster who was in phenomenal form in the last few matches that he played in the domestic circuit which also included a five-wicket haul. He can also bat a bit, which makes him a firm contender to start ahead of others.
Featured image source: IANS