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IPL 2019: MS Dhoni’s men back to the den as CSK tries to defend the title

As the 12th edition of the IPL is set to begin where CSK will be taking on Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) today.

Last updated: 23.03.2019
MS Dhoni’s men back to the den as CSK tries to defend the title | Sports Social Blog

After facing the 2-year suspension from the Indian Premier League (IPL), Chennai Super Kings (CSK) were returning to the tournament. During the auction, the MS Dhoni-led side made bids for a few experience campaigners instead of going for younger players. A lot of people had made fun of the team composition, claiming that the fast-paced T20 games may not suit the senior players and they will struggle during the tournament.

However, defying all the odds and predictions of the pundits, MS Dhoni's men and CSK's very own Thala won the tournament beating Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

Now, as the 12th edition of the tournament is set to begin, the team will be itching to bag the tournament for the 4th time which starts from 23rd March where CSK will be taking on Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

The opening combination

It would be interesting to see the combination the side opts for the upcoming edition of the tournament. MS Dhoni is known for settling with a playing XI and then fields more or less same side for the whole tournament. Dhoni will have a couple of options for the openers going into the tournament. Last season, it was Shane Watson who opened for the CSK along with Ambati Rayudu, Murali Vijay and Faf du Plessis. Watson had a terrific tournament where he had amassed over 500 runs with the help of 2 centuries. Rayudu was a notch above Watson as he made over 600 runs in the season with the help 1 century and 3 half-centuries.

Middle-order conundrum

Suresh Raina is known as Mr. IPL for a reason. The Southpaw has most IPL runs in the history of the tournament. While Raina has been discarded from the Indian side, the 32-year-old would want to impress the Indian selectors who probably continue to look for that vacant number 4 slot in the Indian team for the upcoming World Cup in England. Raina played a few games for his domestic side UP in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy where he struggled for runs. His poor form will be one of the pain points for the IPL champions. His return to form would mean that the CSK is even stronger.

Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni will be guarding the middle order of the side along with Raina. Jadhav and Rayudu have been in the Indian side for a while and the duo will be playing a very important fiddle for the CSK if they want to defend the title. Dwayne Bravo who's known across the world for his T20 expertise will be once again looking to play his part in helping the side lift the title. Ravindra Jadeja who has been an important part of the side for a few years can also smack the ball when needed.

During the last season, it was MS Dhoni 2.0 who was back to his vintage best destroying the bowlers. Dhoni returned to form during the ODI series against Australia where he bagged man of the series award. Going into the World Cup post the IPL, the 37-year-old would want to be in a blazing form and that would mean that CSK will fancy their chances of defending the title.

The bowling unit

In the bowling department, the side was hit with a huge blow when South African speedster Lungi Ngidi was ruled out of the tournament due to an injury. They're yet to name a replacement for the pacer. While the likes of players like Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, David Willey, Dwayne Bravo, and Mohit Sharma have the ability to defend any total or bowl a side out, they will miss a quick bowler who can bowl into the 140's. However, the team is studded with a few quality spinners in the form of Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner, and Karan Sharma.

Possible XI:

Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir, Shardul Thakur

Everything said and done, the MS Dhoni's men will be roaring to go, like last season to defend the title. The fans at the Chepauk who had to travel all the way to Pune to support the Men in Yellow will be ready too, to color the whole MA Chidambaram Stadium in the color of yellow when the side faces RCB in the tournament opener.

Video: IPL 2019 #CSK vs #RCB preview

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