The IPL Auction 2020 is in the history books now as all the teams have covered their bases ahead of the thirteenth edition of the cash-rich league. Pat Cummins emerged as the most expensive buy of the auction as Kolkata Knight Riders submitted a bid of 15.50 Crores for his services.
Talking about the Indian players who went under the hammer, Piyush Chawla received the biggest bid with Chennai Super Kings signing him for a price of 6.75 Crores. The leg-spinner would be glad to join the south Indian franchise as they are one of the most successful teams of the tournament. Besides Chawla, CSK also signed the English all-rounder Sam Curran in the auction.
The Yellow Army looks stronger than ever before IPL 2020 and here’s a look at their best predicted playing XI for the upcoming season:
1. Shane Watson
Australian all-rounder, Shane Watson is expected to continue as the primary opening batsman of Chennai Super Kings after his heroics in the previous season. He aggregated 398 runs from 17 matches in IPL 2019 at an average of 23.41. The highlight of his previous season was his highest score of 96 runs.
Watson used to bowl right-arm pace in the middle overs but, his age has restricted his playing abilities. The Aussie did not bowl a single over in IPL 2019. Besides, the 38-year-old had performed extremely well in the recently concluded Abu Dhabi T10 League.
The right-handed batsman led the Deccan Gladiators to the finale by scoring two half-centuries in the tournament. He played a knock of 75 runs against the Northern Warriors which shows that he still is a valuable asset in the shorter formats of the game.
2. Faf du Plessis
Opening the innings along with Shane Watson will be the South African skipper, Faf du Plessis. The right-handed batsman has not been at his best in the previous two IPL seasons but the team management of Chennai Super Kings has retained him.
Talking about his performance in IPL 2019, the 35-year-old batsman played 12 matches for Chennai. He scored 396 runs at an average of 36.00 and a strike rate of 123.36. The Pretoria-born superstar recorded three half-centuries during the previous season.
He can even bowl a few overs of leg-spin in the middle overs, however, given that Chennai Super Kings have an ample amount of resources in the spin department, they would not use du Plessis’ services. He will play in the team as a primary batsman.
3. Suresh Raina
The vice-captain of Chennai Super Kings, Suresh Raina has owned the number three position of the franchise ever since the league’s inception. Raina has played 193 IPL games in his career and he stands second in the list of the highest run-getters with 5,368 runs.
In the last edition of IPL, Raina led the team in the absence of MS Dhoni. This showcases his importance in the team. Besides, he even scored 383 runs in 17 games to maintain his 12-year long streak of scoring at least 300 runs in every IPL season.
The left-handed batsman has been out of the Indian team but if he performs extraordinarily well in IPL 2020 then he will have a slim chance of making a comeback. Hence, Raina will try to perform his best in the approaching IPL season.
4. Ambati Rayudu
The most controversial cricketer of the modern era, Ambati Rayudu has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. When the selectors did not pick him for the 2019 World Cup, he took a jibe at them for including Vijay Shankar in the team.
Later, he announced his retirement from all forms of cricket only to take a ‘U-turn’ in just a few months. He has also criticized the Hyderabad Cricket Board on Twitter, alleging that the top officials of the state’s cricket board are corrupt and biased.
Amid all these controversies, he is gearing up to play for the Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2020. Since a mega auction will take place in 2021, a disappointing performance from Rayudu’s end could lead to the end of his cricket career and he will be left with no other option but to retire.
5. MS Dhoni (C & WK)
Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been the cornerstone of the Chennai Super Kings franchise since 2008. He is the main reason why the Chennai-based franchise stands as the most consistent and the most popular team in the Indian Premier League.
He has played a major role in the upliftment of Ravichandran Ashwin, DJ Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja’s cricket careers. His sharp cricketing mind has earned him praise from every corner of the cricket world. However, the wicket-keeper batsman has been away from the cricket field since July 2019.
The Ranchi-born player has kept everyone guessing about his future but, the Indian team’s coach Ravi Shastri has confirmed that Dhoni will play in the IPL 2020. It will be interesting to see how the right-handed batsman performs for Chennai because it will be a crucial factor in deciding his international future.
6. Ravindra Jadeja
The three-dimensional spin-bowling all-rounder of India, Ravindra Jadeja will bat after MS Dhoni in the batting line-up of Chennai Super Kings. Jadeja has been a match-winner for Chennai in the previous IPL seasons and his numbers in both the departments reflect his contribution.
During the previous IPL season, the Saurashtra-based cricketer played 16 games for Chennai and scalped 15 wickets while giving away runs at a miserly economy rate of 6.35. His best figures of 3/9 prove how important he is to the CSK franchise.
In the batting department, Jadeja scored 106 runs at an average of 35.33. He will try to improve his strike rate this year because, in 2019, he had a strike rate of just 120.45 which is pretty low for a lower middle-order batsman. Besides, Jadeja will continue to be an integral part of their fielding department too.
7. Dwayne Bravo
West Indian all-rounder, Dwayne Bravo is in the best shape of his life and he recently announced his return to T20 international cricket. The all-rounder was the skipper of the T10 League 2019 champions, Maratha Arabians and he led his side from the front.
He had played a memorable knock of 68 in CSK’s first IPL match of 2018. His knock had won the game for Chennai against Mumbai Indians. However, since then, the Champion is yet to play a big innings for Chennai. His best score in IPL 2019 was just 27 runs.
In the entire season, Bravo aggregated 80 runs at an average of 16. His performance was much better in the bowling department as he took 11 wickets at an economy rate of 8.01. With Sam Curran present in the team, Bravo will have to play consistently to cement his spot in the playing XI.
8. Deepak Chahar
Rajasthan state cricket team’s captain, Deepak Chahar played aggressively as a batsman in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. He even promoted himself up the order. But, CSK will continue to use him in the lower order because they have a better group of players.
Chahar will be primarily used as a fast bowler but if the situation demands, the team can also promote him up the order. The fans had witnessed how he played a gritty knock of 39 runs for Chennai in a league round match against Kings XI Punjab in 2018.
He will have the onus of leading the fast bowling attack of Chennai as he has been their prime bowler in their last two seasons. He ended IPL 2019 with 22 wickets and the former Rising Pune Supergiant player recently recorded figures of 6/7 in T20I cricket.
9. Shardul Thakur
Supporting Deepak Chahar in the pace battery of Chennai Super Kings will be Mumbai’s fast bowler, Shardul Thakur. The right-arm pacer has not yet cemented his place in the Indian national team however, he has been a key player for Chennai.
He came into the limelight when he took a three-wicket haul for Rising Pune Supergiant in the Qualifier 1 match of IPL 2017 and helped Pune secure their spot in the finale. Thakur continued his form in IPL 2018 by scalping 16 wickets in 13 games.
However, the 28-year-old’s numbers witnessed a dip in 2019 as he could only pick up 8 wickets in 10 games. Also, his economy rate increased from 9.23 to 9.36. Hence, MS Dhoni and co. will expect a better performance from him in IPL 2020.
10. Sai Kishore
Tamil Nadu’s left-arm spinner, R Sai Kishore should get a place in the starting XI of Chennai Super Kings because he has been exceptional in the domestic circuit. He was the leading wicket-taker for his state in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2019.
The highlight of his statistics were not only his wickets but also his economy rate. The batsmen found it very tough to score runs off him hence, MS Dhoni would love to have him in the playing XI of Chennai Super Kings.
Besides, Sai Kishore has played a lot of cricket in Chennai because of which he will be the team’s prime pick in the spin department for the home games. The fans can expect him to form a lethal partnership with the Indian stalwart Ravindra Jadeja in IPL 2020.
11. Imran Tahir
The purple cap winner of IPL 2019, Imran Tahir is ageing like wine. Having announced his retirement from international cricket, Tahir has played a lot of T20 cricket this year. He was also the leading wicket-taker in Mzansi Super League 2019.
Playing for Chennai Super Kings, the right-arm leg-spinner had taken 26 wickets in 17 matches. Just like Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur, Tahir’s fortunes changed when he signed for the Rising Pune Supergiant. He picked 18 wickets in 12 games for Pune in 2017.
This performance got him a contract from Chennai Super Kings in 2018 and, he did not let MS Dhoni down as he has taken 32 wickets for them so far. The South African spinner had an economy rate of 6.69 last year. Hence, he will try to replicate the same performance in 2020.
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