IPL 2019: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have squad to defend title
They were banned for two years, they made a comeback, the home matches were shifted from their fortress in Chennai and Pune was their adopted home. MS Dhoni was back as the leader, he was back at the vintage striker of the ball and a team of ‘veterans’ scripted one of the most amazing success stories in the recent past. They galloped along to clinch their third IPL title and with a re-jigged squad, which still has many familiar faces, Chennai Super Kings will once again be the crowd favourite to go on and win the title.
They entered the auction will only two slots available and snapped up Mohit Sharma and Rituraj Gaikwad to complete their squad.
Shane Watson has been in booming form in the Big Bash League, Dwayne Bravo always gets the job done and the Indian stars in Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Kedar Jadhav have been there done that. It is like a well-oiled machine and with MS Dhoni at the helm, there is no reason why CSK cannot script another memorable season.
Players signed: Mohit Sharma - 5 crores, Ruturaj Gaikwad - 20 lakhs
Squad: MS Dhoni (C), Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Mohit Sharma, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Karn Sharma, Shane Watson, Shardul Thakur, Ambati Rayudu, Murali Vijay, Harbhajan Singh, Faf Du Plessis, Sam Billings, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Lungisani Ngidi, Asif KM, N Jagadeesan, Monu Singh, Dhruv Shorey, Chaitanya Bishnoi, David Willey and Mitchell Santner
Indian players to watch out for:
MS Dhoni: The skipper had a sensational season last year and wound the clock in several innings. With 455 runs in the season, Dhoni sparkled with an average of 75 and with a strike rate of 150.66. A similar Dhoni this season would bode well not only for CSK but also for the Indian team with the World Cup scheduled immediately after the IPL.
Suresh Raina: Suresh Raina has been an important cog of CSK since its inception and has been one of the leading run-scorers for them in almost all the seasons. He was not at his prolific best last season and yet managed to score 445 runs in 15 matches at an average of 37.08 and with a strike rate of 132.44. The number 3 will once again play a crucial role for CSK this season.
Harbhajan Singh: For Mumbai Indians, the Punjab offspinner was their go-to bowler in the powerplay overs. His economy rate of 6.95 is testament to his ability to choke the runs. With the first six overs belonging to the batsmen, Harbhajan’s accuracy and control will be an asset for the side.
Kedar Jadhav: He won the side the first game and then was injured for the rest of the tournament. However, he has now established himself as one of the gun players for the Indian side and in Chepauk, his importance to CSK will be immense.
Ravindra Jadeja: For all his flair and pedigree, Ravindra Jadeja has not managed to seal his spot in the ODI side and this IPL is the perfect opportunity for him to stake a claim for the World Cup squad and this added incentive could work perfectly for CSk.
International stars to watch out for
Dwayne Bravo: The West Indian star has called its quits from international cricket and is now a globetrotting T20 player. He is one of the star attractions for CSK and is the perfect player for a captain like MS Dhoni. Critical with the ball, critical with the bat, and reliable in the field, Bravo is very important to the ambitions of the defeding champions.
Shane Watson: A hundred in the final and plenty of belligerent starts right through the tournament, Shane Watson was at his imperious best last year. He had a decent BBL for the Sydney Thunders this year and this should convince him to stay put and get the job done once again for CSK.
Faf du Plessis: South Africa’s skipper has not always managed to get an extended run in the playing XI for CSK, but has always been a brilliant addition to the side. His flexibility is his biggest asset and with his cricketing acumen, he is certainly one MS Dhoni can rely on in crunch situations.
Lungisani Ngidi: The big South African quick was a great addition for CSK last season and will be key components this year too. With a World Cup squad up for grabs, Ngidi will want to put his best foot forward. In 7 matches last season, he picked up 11 wickets at an economy rate of 6 and with an average of 14.18. Another similar season and CSK will be on their way towards the title.
David Willey: The England all-rounder did not have an entirely promising IPL last year, but has the ability to turn around his fortunes this season. He generally strikes early with the new ball and on good batting tracks at the Chepauk, his potency will be the key.
Also, he is no rabbit with the bat and can be used as a floater in the batting order as he can take on bowling attacks.
2014: Qualifier 2