Since the inaugural edition in 2008, Chennai Super Kings have been one of the most successful teams in every edition of the IPL. After the ban for 2 years elapsed, CSK returned in 2018 and became the champions of the IPL for a record 3rd time.
CSK had won 9 matches and lost 5 in the league stage. In the playoff stage, they defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad twice to become champions.
At the 2019 auction, CSK decided to retain most of their core players, including Mitchell Santner, who had missed the entire previous season due to an injury.
At this year's auction, CSK bought Mohit Sharma and, Ruturaj Gaikwad. The franchise decided to release only 3 players, namely Mark Wood, Kanishk Seth, and Kshitiz Sharma.
Chennai Super Kings will begin IPL 2019 with a blockbuster encounter against Royal Challengers Bangalore on 23rd March at M Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
CSK would look for all their players come good again in IPL 2019 and to win their 4th title.
Here we look at the 5 key players for CSK.
#1. Shane Watson
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson was purchased by CSK for ₹4 Crore. Watson had scored 555 runs from 15 innings with 2-half centuries and 2 centuries in IPL 2018.
In the 17th match of 2018 edition of the IPL against the Rajasthan Royals, Watson scored an attacking 106 off 57 balls. His brilliance took Chennai Super Kings to 204 for 5 from 20 overs. The Royals were bowled out for 140. Watson's century earned him the man of match award.
He then scored 117* off 57 balls in the finals against Sunrisers Hyderabad. The Sunrisers were asked to bat first and posted 178 for 6 in 20 overs. Watson rose to the occasion and scored a brilliant century to help CSK win the title with 9 balls to spare. He was named as man of the match.
With his 4th IPL century in the finals, he equaled Virat Kohli's tally in 2018 for number of centuries in the IPL.
In IPL 2018, he had bowled 28 overs in 15 matches taking 6 wickets. CSK will be looking forward to his all-round performance and the audience would be cheering for him.
#2. Suresh Raina
In the 2018 edition, Raina scored 445 runs from 15 matches with 4 -half-centuries and a best score of 75*.
Raina is the only player to have scored over 400 runs in 7 successive IPL seasons. He has a record of most consecutive appearances with 158 matches for CSK. The stylish left-handed batsman will be looking to perform again for the 3-time IPL champion in this year's edition.
One of the most reliable batsmen in the CSK team, Raina has the ability to change the course of the game with his hitting.
He has not been in the Indian T20 squad for nearly a year now as he played his last match on 8th July 2018.
#3. MS Dhoni
Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been leading the CSK franchise since its inception in 2008. He had a successful 2018 IPL season with 455 runs in 16 matches with an impressive average of 75.83 and 3 half centuries. In 2016 and 2017, he was a part of Rising Super Giant squad.
In the 2016 and 2017 season, the charismatic leader had problems of hitting big shots. He came with a bang in last year's edition and proved his worth.
MS Dhoni's best IPL season came in 2013, where he scored 461 runs from 18 matches at a strike rate of 162.84 with 4 half centuries. His recent form in one-day internationals in 2019 has been outstanding and will benefit him in this edition of the IPL.
He is 2nd among the best wicket-keepers in IPL with the most number of dismissals. Overall he has 116 dismissals including 83 catches and 33 stumpings.
MS Dhoni needs to come good again this season with his attacking stroke play and make sure that CSK increases their chances of retaining the title again. The fans in the IPL would be hoping for MS Dhoni magic.
#4. Dwayne Bravo
Dwayne Bravo is the leading wicket-taker in T20 format with 477 wickets from 435 matches, with an economy of 8.26 runs per over.
He started his IPL career with Mumbai Indians in 2008. The right-handed all-rounder scored 433 runs from 30 matches he played for them, with the highest score of 70*.
From 2011-2015, he was a part of the Chennai Super Kings franchise. In 2012, he had a successful career with CSK with 371 runs from 19 matches and the highest score of 48.
In 2016, he was a part of Gujarat Lions and had a disappointing season with only 99 runs from 15 matches.
Bravo is the 4th leading wicket-taker in IPL with 136 wickets from 122 matches with an economy of 8.43 and best figures of 4/22.
In 2018, Dwayne Bravo was bought by CSK for ₹6.40 Crore using the right to match card. With the bat, Bravo scored 141 runs from 16 matches remaining not out 6 times. He played a match-winning knock of 68 runs in an opening match of IPL 2018 against Mumbai Indians. As a bowler, he took 14 wickets from 16 matches with an economy of 9.96 runs per over and the best figure of 2/16, and CSK will expect him to contribute with both bat and ball on a consistent basis in 2019
#5. Deepak Chahar
Deepak Chahar had a successful 2017/18 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy tournament. He took a total of 19 wickets from 9 matches at an economy of 5.58 runs per over and with best figures of 5/15.
In 2018, CSK purchased Deepak Chahar for ₹80 Lakhs. The right arm medium pace bowler registered his best figures of IPL 2018, with 3/15 against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
On 22nd April, CSK scored 182 for 6 in 20 overs. Chahar took wickets of Ricky Bhui, Manish Pandey and Deepak Hooda and helped the team register a thrilling win by 4 runs.
In IPL 2018, he finished with 10 wickets from 12 matches with an economy rate of 7.28 runs per over. He impressed one and all with his bowling as he bowled in the first 6 overs. He will be one of the key bowlers to watch out for CSK in the upcoming season.