Where they finished in 2020
The Chennai Super Kings finished seventh in the league and were the first team to get eliminated.
They had a tough 2020 and found themselves out of the playoff for their first time.
If not for the three wins towards the end of the league, the Chennai Super Kings would have finished eighth.
They lost a fair share of players throughout the league, with Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh pulling out early and Dwayne Bravo getting injured mid-way.
They come into 2021 with a lot to prove and need to fight back hard after an aging side struggled in 2020.
The Super Kings had a poor outing with the bat last season struggling badly in run-chases.
In most of their run-chases, the required rate reached unreasonable heights as early as the tenth over, and their approach of taking the game deep didn’t work out for them.
Shane Watson and Kedar Jadhav both struggled with the bat, which led to Watson’s retirement and Jadhav’s release.
Faf Du Plessis and Ambati Rayudu started well but didn’t show enough intent to help CSK during run-chases.
With Suresh Raina back, the Chennai Super Kings can hope for some acceleration upfront.
Ruturaj Gaikwad is another player who has looked in good touch towards the end of IPL 2020 and could get more game time, along with Narayan Jagadeeshan.
Another change the Super Kings could do to solve their slow starts is bringing Moeen Ali up to accelerate early on.
Another main concern for the Chennai Super Kings would be MS Dhoni’s form.
Last season was one of his worst with the bat, and his lack of contribution affected the Chennai Super Kings badly.
However, a silver lining for the Super Kings would be Ravindra Jadeja and Sam Curran’s performance.
Both players finished the innings well for Chennai and had good outings for their countries.
Ravindra Jadeja will, however, be coming off a long injury layoff after hurting his thumb during the Sydney Test.
He will be making a comeback along with Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni, who has been away from the game for a while.
The lack of game time is likely to play a factor, and it will be interesting to see how long it takes Raina and Dhoni to find their touch.
In case they are not able to, the Chennai Super Kings may find themselves in another hole, depending on youngsters and Jadeja yet again.
The bench does contain some options with Uthappa and Pujara coming into the side, but with CSK not known to change their side much, a lot will depend on how things go in the first game.
Though the side struggled in IPL 2020, the bowling was decent.
Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, and Sam Curran stood up and carried the side, making them a decent bowling outfit.
The Chennai Super Kings finished with a reasonable economic rate in the death, and the pace attack had some variety.
Dwayne Bravo couldn’t play too many games but was handy when he got his chance.
He has been in good form, closing out games well against Sri Lanka, while Shardul Thakur has become a wicket-taking bowler for India.
On the bench, Chennai Super Kings have Lungi Ngidi, who can provide an extra yard of pace.
While the pace attack looks good, it’s the spinners that may attract some attention.
The spin bowlers struggled in the UAE and will be bowling on unhelpful pitches with many matches in Mumbai.
However, one bonus is the batting strength, as it may allow Imran Tahir’s inclusion, who had to sit out last year due to the team composition.
Along with Imran Tahir, another worthy inclusion is that of an off-spinner.
Last season, CSK had no off-spinners and struggled against left-handers.
With the purchase of K Gowtham and Moeen Ali, along with Suresh Raina’s return, the Chennai Super Kings have off-spinning options to support their premier left-arm spinner in Jadeja.
Young Players to Watch out for:
Last season, Gaikwad and Ravindra Jadeja, and Sam Curran made the batting look better, with three fifties in the final three league games.
While Jadeja and Curran were consistently in the side, Gaikwad was in and out initially but finally got a chance to open at the business end of the league.
He took his chance to open with both hands and is likely to keep his spot at the top.
It will be interesting to see if Gaikwad can build on his late-season performances with more opportunities at the top.
- Ruturaj Gaikwad
- Faf Du Plessis/ Moeen Ali
- Suresh Raina
- Ambati Rayudu
- MS Dhoni (c, wk)
- Ravindra Jadeja
- Sam Curran
- Dwayne Bravo
- Shardul Thakur
- Deepak Chahar
- Imran Tahir