Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will have a lot of work to do when they lock horns with the defending champions of the tournament on 19th September in the IPL 2020 opener. Despite being one of the most consistent teams of the tournament, they have only managed to win three finals out of the eight they have been a part of.
This time things are not going to be the same for CSK as they will be missing out on the likes of their most loyal cricketer, Suresh Raina, and one of the most experienced campaigners, Harbhajan Singh.
However, the show won’t really stop for CSK as they will have to adapt themselves to the situation and will have to perform at their best with the available resources. Eyes will be on veteran campaigners as it will need a lot more than muscle to navigate the mercurial pitches of UAE and talking about the experienced virtuosos of the game, CSKhas plenty of them and this will be a big hand for the Yellow army. We will look at the top four of the Chennai innings who can help the team to establish a good platform for the latter half of the lineup to fire or for the bowlers to defend.
CSK opener Shane Watson
The Australian all-rounder is one of the most versatile cricketers in the ranks of Chennai and his chemistry with the Dhoni-led brigade is also phenomenal. However, given the dearth of experienced openers, Chennai will most likely resort to Watson to set the tone for the rest.
Known for his hard-hitting ability, he can clear the boundaries without much ado, and with the majority of the fielders confined to the circle, Watson will be extremely instrumental to the Chennai batting. Also, in the case of a landslide at the other end, Watson will be the best man to wait out in the middle and stabilize the innings until he deems it time to bring out the pyrotechnics.
Faf du Plessis
Francois ‘Faf’ du Plessis is also an experienced moniker in the T20 cricket roster and will also be a major support to Watson. A perfect blend of aggression and calmness, the erstwhile South African honcho can be ruthless when it comes to the pursuit of runs.
He is not someone who is going to hold his fire irrespective of the situation and du Plessis will be leading the attacking force when it comes to batting. He won’t really care if he gets dismissed early because Dhoni will provide him with the license to go for the aerial routes. Also, if the dup of Watson and du Plessis gets going in harmony, it is going to be an extremely ominous sign for the opponents.
Ambati Rayudu: He will have to anchor the innings for CSK
With Raina out of the equation, Ambati Rayudu will be the best possible number three for CSK. He takes his own sweet time to settle in and that will give the innings some breathing space to stabilize in case if both the openers are removed early.
However, given the fact that one of them is removed, the other one is capable of inflicting a fair bit of onslaught with his blade and this will also give Rayudu the exact amount of time that he will need to settle in and start hammering those big ones. We have seen previously how menacing can be Rayudu once he gets his eye set in. Also to be mentioned, he shares amazing chemistry with Mahi, which has always brought out the best in him.
CSK’s backbone Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Though Ruturaj Gaikwad would have been a better pick in the number four, however, going by Dhoni’s recent form, he will be a better batsman in this position. At the age of 39, Dhoni will need some time to settle his nerves before he turns into the monster that he is once he gets going. This position will provide him with that room to calm himself before he starts picking the bowlers.
We are all aware of the fact that Mahi will love to showcase a few of his exotic strokes that separate him from the rest and for that to happen he will need the entire quota of death overs by his side. He is no longer the same man who could have started slogging right after walking in. Give him the time and we will be staring at the world’s best finisher again.