After winning 6 out of their first 8 games, Chennai Super Kings have lost 2 out of their last 3 games. However, they still sit pretty well at the second position with 14 points from 11 games.
CSK have failed to defend 170+ targets on the last two occasions and their bowling has failed to stand up in pressure situations. However, CSK fans need not panic yet as their team has the firepower to turn it around. The MS Dhoni-led side is usually not known for making a lot of changes, but with injuries to a few players and in search of the best combination, CSK have made quite a few changes this season.
Thus, let’s have a look at how the ‘Men in Yellow’ could possibly line-up for their game against the table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad in Pune.
Shane Watson is having a wonderful tournament so far. He’s scoring runs, taking vital wickets and fielding well. Since the 2013 edition of the IPL, this is Watson’s best performance with the bat. But in the last three games, the former Aussie all-rounder has been getting starts and hasn’t kicked on. But he has been very good at the top of the order and his batting position hasn’t changed despite CSK making a few changes here and there.
Faf du Plessis who has looked good in the last two games he played might slot back in and replace Sam Billings who hasn’t been able to show consistency. Billings did score 27 in the last game but struggled for the most part of his innings. Thus, CSK might to bring back du Plessis and give him a go for the next couple of games.
Suresh Raina scored his 3rd half-century of the season (52) and looked in very good touch in the last game against Rajasthan Royals. But CSK will hope he can continue his good form with the bat and also ensure that he bats for longer periods as he tends to get out at crucial junctures of the game.
CSK’s highest run-getter this season, Ambati Rayudu might go back to the No. 4 position in this game if Faf du Plessis is preferred over Sam Billings. But that hasn’t affected Rayudu who has been going up and down in the batting order. He’s been superb this year, scoring 435 runs in 11 innings at an average touching 40 and a strike-rate over 150. Thus, he will most probably bat at No. 4 if du Plessis is in the XI.
MS Dhoni has turned back the clock as he is striking the ball incredibly well. He has been one of the best batsmen for CSK. He’s scored 393 runs in 11 innings and has stayed unbeaten in 7 of those, and has a strike-rate of 163.75 this year, which is by far his best in the 11 years of the IPL. Thus, Dhoni will be looking to continue to be CSK’s finisher and look to take the team home while chasing or help them put up a big score.
Ravindra Jadeja has been very good in the last few games, especially with the ball. He’s bowling really well and is not only keeping the runs down but is also picking up wickets. However, he hasn’t quite hit his straps and found his rhythm with the bat. Thus, CSK will be hoping he back into form with the bat in the coming games.
With the ball, Dwayne Bravo hasn’t quite been at his best in the last few games. He’s picked up just one wicket in the last 4 games and has also leaked a few runs at the death. In the last game as well, the West Indian all-rounder went for a few runs and also failed to defend 12 runs off the final over.
Harbhajan Singh has been one of CSK’s most economical this season. He’s kept things pretty tight and has bowled well. Despite going for a few runs in the last game against RR, he did pick up the key wicket of Ben Stokes. Thus, CSK will most likely continue with Harbhajan as he looks to be in good form.
Karn Sharma has played 5 games in this IPL but has only bowled 6.3 overs. He’s playing as the third spinner in the side and has been used quite rarely by Dhoni. Karn usually comes on for an over or two if the other bowlers go for a lot of runs. Despite bowling just 6.3 overs, the 30-year-old leggie has taken 3 wickets.
After sitting out in the last game, Lungi Ngidi might return to the playing as David Willey struggled in the last game. Also, the latter didn’t look at his best, bowling at the death. Hence, Ngidi who has been good in his debut season might make a comeback into the playing XI.
Shardul Thakur is CSK’s highest wicket-taker in this year’s IPL so far. He’s been expensive but has picked up wickets. In the last game against RR, Shardul was CSK’s best bowler as he conceded just 22 runs in his four overs and also picked up a wicket. Hence, he will most likely hold onto his spot after his good show in the previous game.