IPL 2019: MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings aim to sustain dominance

New Delhi, Siddharth Vishwanathan | Updated : 19 March 2019, 01:54 PM
MS Dhoni will be aiming to give Chennai Super Kings their fourth IPL title and continue the team's domination of the tournament. (Image credit: Chennai IPL Twitter)
MS Dhoni will be aiming to give Chennai Super Kings their fourth IPL title and continue the team's domination of the tournament. (Image credit: Chennai IPL Twitter)
HIGHLIGHTS
    • Chennai Super Kings have won the 2010, 2011 and 2018 IPL titles.
    • MS Dhoni returned as captain to the side in 2018.
    • Only two players, Mohit Sharma and Ruturaj Gaekwad were brought in the IPL Auction in December 2018.

When Chennai Super Kings returned to the IPL in 2018, MS Dhoni was visibly emotional. The Whistle Podu anthem and the Yellow Army were silent for two years after the team was banned in 2016 and 2017 for the spot-fixing scandal in 2013. When a crowd of close to 15000 turn up just for a Chennai Super Kings practice, it is testament to the love the fans have towards the franchise. When you see MS Dhoni having fun, laughing about and just enjoying the game, one realises the deep-rooted passion and love that Chennai Super Kings generate among the fans. Chennai Super Kings are the heart and soul of the IPL. Dhoni is the undisputed Thala (meaning head of a group in Tamil) and the definition of fans is redefined when it comes to Chennai Super Kings.

Having won in 2018, Chennai Super Kings head into this edition high on confidence and with a core which has not been disturbed at all. In the 2018 auction, the team had only two players to pick from and they chose Mohit Sharma. The Haryana pacer, who had his best years under Dhoni for CSK, is back and he will be looking to get back to his best. Shane Watson, who smashed a century in the 2018 final and who was the Man of the Series in the Pakistan Super League, will be the key at the top. With Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo and MS Dhoni in the line-up, the ‘golden oldies’ can give the youngsters a run for their money.

If the batting is filled with older players, the bowling is a mixture of youth and experience. Lungi Ngidi and Mitchell Santner are some of the youngsters while Imran Tahir will be the key in the spin department. In 2018, the team came together brilliantly under Dhoni and fueled by the passion of the Chepauk crowd, Dhoni would be hoping to keep his proud record of having qualified for the knock-outs every single time intact. They would also be hoping to play all their home games in Chepauk, with the 2018 season curtailed due to the Kaveri protests.

Chennai Super Kings squad

MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Ravindra Jadeja, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Murali Vijay, Harbhajan Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Mohit Sharma, David Willey, Mitchell Santner, Lungi Ngidi, Sam Billings, N Jagadeesan, Dhruv Shorey, KM Asif, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Ruturaj Gaekwad

Chennai Super Kings support staff

Head coach: Stephen Fleming

Bowling coach: Lakshmipathy Balaji

Batting coach: Michael Hussey

Bowling consultant: Eric Simons

Physiotherapist: Tommy Simsek

Trainer: Gregory King

Team doctor: Madhu

Performance Analyst: Lakshmi Narayanan

Logistics Manager: Sanjay Natarajan

Indian players to watch out for

Ambati Rayudu: He was the designated No.4 for the Indian cricket team in the series against Australia (away and home) and against New Zealand. However, a poor ODI series at home has once again opened up the No.4 spot. A brilliant IPL could cement Rayudu’s slot for the ICC Cricket World 2019.

Suresh Raina: He has not been part of the Indian cricket team for over seven months now. After his last series in England, Raina has struggled for form. However, he is a proven match-winner and in ICC events, his experience will come in hand. Before his loss of form, Raina was the key in the middle order during Dhoni’s captaincy tenure and a good IPL performance could give him a chance.

International players to watch out for

Imran Tahir: He has announced that the 2019 World Cup will be his last international assignment. Approaching 40, the South African legspinner still has plenty of energy and will be the key in building pressure during the middle overs.

David Willey: In addition to being a bowler who operates well in the powerplay period, the left-armer is a useful batsman who can contribute in the lower order. England will be monitoring how he progresses in this IPL and his experience on flat decks could prove vital for the hosts’ chances.

Past record

2008: Finalists

2009: Semifinalists

2010: Winner

2011: Winner

2012: Finalists

2013: Finalists

2014: 2nd qualifier

2015: Finalists

2016: DNP

2017: DNP

2018: Winner

First Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2019 01:53 PM
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