The Chennai Super Kings are set to take on the Kings XI Punjab for a home game on April 6th at 4:00 pm. However, all is not well with the Yellow Army and they come off a loss to the Mumbai Indians which highlighted their inability to bowl at the death and with Punjab's power hitters to face, CSK have a bit of a problem right ahead of them.
Also, the side's star all-rounder DJ Bravo has been ruled out for 2 weeks due to a hamstring injury further adding to the side's problems. With a lot of things to consider ahead of this game, the think-tank will go all-out to resolve their issues and here are 3 things which CSK must do to beat the Kings XI Punjab.
#3 Play their reserve Overseas Players
CSK have started a trend this season- not playing 4 overseas players in every game. Only in 1 match have the CSK played their 4th overseas player when they played Mitchell Santner on a dewy night against Rajasthan Royals. Now with DJ Bravo ruled out, CSK are bound to replace him with another overseas player.
CSK have to start considering options to replace their Indian pace bowlers who have all been poor barring Deepak Chahar.
What CSK must do is play Scott Kuggeleijn or Mitchell Santner instead of DJ Bravo though the former will be preferred due to his pace bowling ability. MS Dhoni needs to make some changes to the side and should not stick to his bedrock policy of sticking to the same team combination. Their overseas players will bring quality to the side and this is when CSK use them.
#2 Play Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh has been kept out of the side for the last 2 games and he needs to come back into the side for the match against KXIP especially due to the threat posed by Punjab's destructive left-handers.
Chris Gayle and David Miller will be players around who Punjab's batting will revolve around and if they go unprepared, the batsmen can smash them all around the park. Gayle has had a good record against CSK and Bhajji will want to pick up his wicket early on.
Also, the ball will surely turn on a hot evening where there will be no sign of dew and he will be an X-Factor for CSK if he plays. Ideally, CSK must play Scott Kuggeleijn instead of Bravo and Harbhajan Singh instead of Mohit Sharma so that the team balance is maintained.
Shardul Thakur is another option to be shipped out but he's a better fielder than Mohit and though both of have been poor, Thakur has more pace and he has looked good on a few occasions.
#1 Back Ambati Rayudu to bat at the top of the order
Ambati Rayudu has had a poor start to the season for CSK and the form of CSK's opening batsmen will be a major concern for the side. He has scored only 34 runs in 4 matches and in the last 3 games, he has managed just 6 runs. CSK have been the worst side in the power play overs with a run-rate of under 6 and need to work on their opening batting.
This doesn't mean that they ship Rayudu or Shane Watson out, they need to back their openers and give them the freedom to launch themselves against the opposition's bowling attack. While Watson has played his natural game, Rayudu has been playing within a shell and he needs to be confident and step out. There have been calls from many experts to replace Rayudu with Du Plessis but CSK must not do so.
Rayudu has been and will be CSK's most important batsman and if he gets going for one match, his whole season can turn around and on a slow track with not much assistance to the fast bowlers, today can be Rayudu's turning point of this season. Hence, CSK need to back Ambati Rayudu until he fires.