The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League is finally ready to set the stage on fire in the middle-east nation of United Arab Emirates. The Emirates Cricket Board recently confirmed receiving the Letter of Intent to conduct the latest edition of IPL in UAE from BCCI. As soon as clearance is obtained from the Indian Government regarding moving IPL overseas for the current edition, the preparations are expected to get underway as quickly as possible.
Amidst the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, the sport is finally regaining its foothold in the international arena. With West Indies completing their tour to England without any major hiccups, the floor is now wide open for many tournaments to be conducted in a bio-secure bubble with safety regulations. Along with IPL, the Caribbean Premier League and T20 Blast are also set to be hosted in West Indies and England respectively.
Recently, in an interview, former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra also revealed that he considers that the tournament being conducted in UAE would benefit the 3-time champions Chennai Super Kings a lot because of their comprehensive spin bowling department. Notably, the yellow army has eight spinners in their squad including all-rounders.
Here we will discuss the probable playing XI who may take the field for the Super Kings in their first match of the thirteenth season:
1. Shane Watson
The dynamic all-rounder from Australia is expected to reprise his role as an opener for the Super Kings. A winner of the Most Valuable Player award on a couple of occasions, the opening batsman has become somewhat of a legend in the cash-rich league. Ever since the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2008, Watson has had a significant impact on his team’s performance each season.
Though he hasn’t been consistent for the last couple of years, he has doled out match-winning performances at the highest level. His contributions in the playoffs in the 2018 and 2019 edition are too good to be cast aside. In fact, he was on course to steer his team to victory in last year’s final before he injured his leg and got run out.
In 134 IPL matches, Watson has scored 3575 runs at an average of 31.09 striking runs at 139.54 runs per 100 balls. He also has 4 tournament hundreds to his name. Though he hardly takes the ball in his hand now, he is still the proud owner of 92 IPL scalps.
2. Faf du Plessis
The former South African captain has been a mainstay in CSK’s batting order ever since he was included in the team in 2012. He was by far, their most consistent top-order batsman during the last season. During a time when the form of most of their batsman had hit rock-bottom, du Plessis sailed their ship through braving all the odds.
Playing mostly in the middle-order for his national team, Faf found himself at home opening the batting for the yellow army. His composure and patience while opening the innings makes him an ideal partner to Watson’s aggression. His ability in anchoring and playing a long innings is indubitable which makes him a successful opener.
In 71 matches, he has managed to score 1853 runs at an average of 31.41 and a strike rate of 126.54. He has 12 fifties to his name with the highest score of 96 which he achieved against Kings XI Punjab in the previous season itself.
3. Suresh Raina
Popularly regarded as Mr IPL by many cricketing pundits, Raina has been one of the most consistent batsmen throughout the 12 years of the tournament. He is the all-time second-highest run-scorer in IPL and has scored more than 350 runs in every season since the inaugural edition. His fixed batting position at No.3 has also been a hallmark of his IPL batting career.
Though not present in the current scheme of things for the international matches, Raina is a beast in the franchise-based tournament. He is capable of taking away the game from the opposition completely on his own as was evidenced when he single-handedly almost won the Qualifier 2 against Kings XI Punjab in the year 2014 by scoring 87 runs off just 24 balls. His contributions have often been silent but significant and remarkable.
In 193 matches, he has scored 5368 runs at an average of 33.34 and a strike rate of 137.11 runs per 100 deliveries. He has a single hundred and 38 fifties to his name. He has also remained not out on 28 different occasions.
4. Ambati Rayudu
Ambati Rayudu’s career for CSK in IPL has been a mirror reflection of his fortunes in the national team. After being released by Mumbai ahead of the 2018 season, he was roped in by the yellow army and it was a time when he started making his place as a regular player in the international arena as well. He was the most successful Chennai batsman in the 2018 edition as he knocked up 602 runs and was instrumental in his team’s victorious campaign.
In the 2019 season, his performance dipped and so did his chances of representing India in the World Cup. Eventually, he was discarded from the team after a bunch of controversies. Although, it appears that Rayudu has not lost his mojo yet and will be rearing to go after all the bowling attacks as soon as the current edition of the tournament gets underway.
In 147 IPL matches, Rayudu has scored 3300 runs at an average of 28.7 with a strike rate of 125.95. He has 18 fifties and a hundred to his name. He can also double up as an opener in case there are any unanticipated injuries in the team.
5. MS Dhoni
The former Indian captain is arguably the most-looked forward to cricketer for the current edition of the IPL. On a sabbatical ever since India’s unfortunate exit from World Cup last year in the semi-final against New Zealand, fans are expecting him to come full throttle in the latest edition and reclaim his place back in the national team. As a captain, wicket-keeper and a finishing batsman, MS Dhoni is the glue that holds the whole franchise together.
In all their 10 years of playing the league, Dhoni has been their go-to man whenever they find themselves in a pinch. He has won matches for his team from nearly impossible positions and has always backed players and got the best out of them. He is the only captain who has successfully managed to defend his title in the 12-year history of the league.
In 190 matches, Dhoni has played 170 innings and scored 4432 runs at an average of 42.21 and a strike rate of 137.85. He has 23 fifties to his name with the highest score of 84. More impressively, he has remained unbeaten on 65 occasions.
6. Ravindra Jadeja
The left-arm spinner from Saurashtra was drafted into the yellow army in the year 2012 when they spent their entire remaining purse on the services of the bowling all-rounder. Since then, Jadeja has remained with the Super Kings (except during their suspension when he represented Gujarat lions), dishing out impressive performances every now and then. His pinpoint accuracy with the ball coupled with clever variations makes him a deadly bowler.
Though initially he was added as a bowler who could make useful contributions with the bat, Jadeja has slowly evolved into a genuine all-rounder. Of late, he has been making substantial contributions with the bat and has started winning matches for his team. He is also one of the most athletic fielders in the world now, making him an enviable package.
In 128 innings, Jadeja has scored 1927 runs at an average of 24.09 and a strike rate of almost 123. On the bowling front, he has 108 wickets with a bowling average of 29.19 and an economy of 7.58. He has a single 5-wicket haul and three 4-wicket hauls to his name.
7. Dwayne Bravo
The Caribbean all-rounder was included in the squad for the first time in the year 2011. He has made Chennai his second home and made himself indispensable to the franchise. His explosive batting, clever bowling and reliable fielding often become a headache for the opposition.
Bravo usually provides fireworks at the end of an innings for the Chennai Super Kings. In the bowling department, he is responsible for bringing major breakthroughs and breaking partnerships. On the fielding front, his safe pair of hands and his athleticism make a lethal combination.
In 102 innings, Bravo has scored 1483 runs at an average of 23.17 with a strike rate of 128.29 with 5 fifties. In the bowling department, he has scalped 147 wickets at an average of 24.61 with two 4-wicket hauls. He also managed to bag a purple cap during the 2013 season.
8. Shardul Thakur
The Mumbai pacer has come a long way after a string of years spent in various IPL squads as a backup pacer. He has become a regular in the national team and has contributed in a significant manner. His lower-order batting and new-ball bowling will be essential for the Super Kings.
Though a bit on the expensive side in T20s, Thakur has a knack of getting important breakthroughs. His skills with the bat have improved considerably during the last year and now he is capable of finishing the innings as well. In the bowling department, his constant variations and the occasional knuckleball can trouble the batsmen.
In 36 IPL matches, Thakur has scalped 36 wickets at an average of 29.5 and a strike rate of 19.6. He has an economy rate of just over 9 with the best bowling figures of 3/19.
9. Deepak Chahar
In the last year, Chahar has established himself as India’s go-to bowler in the T20 format. He became the first Indian bowler to grab a T20I hat-trick and in the same match achieved the best bowling figures in the history of T20I cricket when he scalped 6 wickets for 7 runs against Bangladesh. His exceptional skills with the new ball make him an incredible option to open the bowling.
He is expected to spearhead the pace attack of CSK and to be assisted by Shardul Thakur and Dwayne Bravo. He can also bat a little bit down the order and score a few useful runs. In his 2 years playing for CSK, the pacer has eventually become an integral part of their regular setup.
In 34 IPL matches, he has scalped 33 wickets at an average of 26.52 and a strike rate of 20.85. He has an economy rate of 7.6 with the best bowling figures of 3/15.
10. Harbhajan Singh
The Turbanator, just like many of his teammates, is an already established IPL legend. After plying his trade for Mumbai Indians from the inaugural season till 2017, he was taken in by Chennai Super Kings ahead of the 11th edition. Despite his increasing age, he has managed to keep himself relevant to the T20 format.
The biggest asset of Bhajji is his ability to stop the flow of runs at any stage of the innings. Along with his miserly spells, he can also take wickets upfront in the powerplays. Add to that his explosive shots with the bat on occasion, he becomes a perfect T20 player.
In 160 matches, he has scalped 150 wickets at an average of 26.45 and a strike rate of 22.49. He has a career economy of 7.05 with a single 4-wicket haul and a 5-wicket haul to his name.
11. Imran Tahir
The South African legend was the go-to bowler for the Men in Yellow during the last season. He managed to pick up 26 wickets with his wily leg-spinners and bag the purple cap, trumping his own countryman Kagiso Rabada. His enthusiasm on the field provides refreshing energy to the whole team and creates a positive atmosphere which in turn fires up all the players.
The 41-year-old spinner has defied age and is still going strong, making valuable contributions every now and then. He has also bagged the No.1 ranking amongst bowlers in T20I and ODI cricket for a while. After his retirement from the national setup, Tahir has been focusing on T20 leagues and will be ready to pounce on the opposition as soon as the league starts.
In 55 IPL matches, Tahir has scalped 79 wickets at an average of 20.39 and a strike rate of 15.52. He has an economy of 7.88 with the best bowling figures of 4-12. He will be heading the spin department, duly assisted by Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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