The season opener of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 will be played between Mumbai Indians (MI) and the Chennai Super Kings (CSK). CSK, who have suffered a series of misfortunes ahead of IPL 2020, started training mere days ago, more than a week after all other franchises. Ahead of the tournament, MS Dhoni and his men have got just a couple of week’s time to train.
Perhaps the most difficult decision to make for CSK is how to find an apt replacement for their vice-captain Suresh Raina, who has withdrawn from IPL 2020. The most prominent name doing the rounds is Ruturaj Gaikwad, but he is yet to make his IPL debut and also recently positive for COVID-19. The safe option for CSK would be to replace Raina with Ambti Rayudu at no.3.
The opening combination can be formed by Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis as they have performed well more often than not in the last couple of seasons. In the absence of Raina, Rayudu would be the safe bet to come in at No. 3. The Hyderabad batsman has both experience and a calm head on his shoulders and he can be expected to play the anchor role for CSK, and he could also attack right from the outset if the openers get off to a good start.
In the No. 4 spot, Kedar Jadhav can be the accurate inclusion as he can also become a handy customer with the ball on the slow and low UAE tracks expected to be a handful in IPL 2020. Although Jadhav hasn’t batted this high up the order recently, he is the best possible choice for CSK due to his experience and prowess against spin followed by none other than the skipper, MS Dhoni.
There have been talks of moving Dhoni up teh order now that he has retired from international retirement, but it is highly unlikely at the moment, but in some games, depending on the situation he can switch places with Jadhav. Dhoni will be at his destructive best at No. 5, and even if he himself doesn’t want to bat at the position, this is probably the decision that is the best for the team.
The easiest choices on this list, Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo can certainly be expected to form the backbone of the CSK batting lineup in IPL 2020. Both all-rounders have been playing crucial roles for the team’s success over the years in the IPL, and will be utterly crucial in the UAE.
New signing Sam Curran can also be expected to wrap up the all-rounder’s department in CSK’s playing XI for IPL 2020. Another buy in the IPL 2020 auction, Piyush Chawla, which can be pretty successful on the slow pitches of UAE. His potent googly and variations of pace will be lethal weapons in the absence of an off-spinner in the CSK team.
Deepak Chahar recently tested positive for COVID-19 and has since announced that he is recovering well and he can be expected to spearhead CSK’s pace attack as soon as he is fit. He has the ability to swing the new ball both ways and has developed into a potent death bowler over the past 2 years. Like Chawla, he is also useful with the bat. They can also include Lungi Ngidi if they look to enhance their fast bowling attack.
Imran Tahir and Karn Sharma are the other spin option for CSK as both the leg-spinner has different abilities. Tahir is a fan favorite and a major wicket-taking threat, he rounds off what is perhaps the best spin attack in IPL 2020.
CSK’s Predicted Playing XI for IPL 2020:
Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran/Lungi Ngidi, Piyush Chawla, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir/ Karn Sharma.