Chennai Super Kings will be eyeing their fourth IPL title in 2020. The MS Dhoni-led side have been one of the most successful franchises in the IPL and will look to extend their dominance in the tournament.
After making a stunning comeback in the IPL in 2018, where the team emerged victorious in the final by beating Sunrisers Hyderabad, CSK faltered in the final last year against Mumbai Indians. CSK will need to rectify the errors committed last season to give themselves the best chance in the upcoming season.
Despite not winning the title last season, CSK did not make too many changes to their squad. The team management have reinstated faith in Dhoni's leadership and the old guns of the side to deliver the goods. While each and every member of the squad is equally important, there are some players whose performances have a huge bearing on the team's chances.
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So, here are the three players to watch out for in Chennai Super Kings.
Deepak Chahar must credit IPL and Chennai Super Kings for the change in his fortunes. The Rajasthani seamer's consistent performances in the IPL paved way for his selection in the national side. Although he struggled a little at the international level initially, Chahar has been a regular member of the T20I side. Chahar was India's strike bowler in the T20I series against Bangladesh, against whom he claimed the best bowling figures in T20Is.
Unfortunately, Chahar got injured during the ODI series against West Indies and is likely to be out of action till April, which means he might make a comeback from his injury in the IPL. Chahar has become a crucial member of the Chennai Super Kings side and a lot hinges on his performances. Chahar will also know that the competition for a place in the national T20 side is quite strong and he will need to perform well in the IPL to get back into reckoning for selection in the World Cup squad.
Ravindra Jadeja seemed to have found his mojo back in limited-overs cricket for Team India. Jadeja's batting improved by leaps and bounds last year, and CSK will hope that the all-rounder will translate his good batting form in the IPL as well. CSK's lower-order isn't the strongest and thus, some cameos by Jadeja will come in handy for the Super Kings. He will also be crucial with the ball on the slow Chennai pitches. Dhoni will be banking on Jadeja's ability of strangling the batsmen by bowling tight lines in the middle-overs. This will be an important season for Jadeja, with the T20 World Cup set to take place later in the year.
With the likes of Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar and Shivam Dube around, the fight for the all-rounder's spot has become stringent and Jadeja will need to put up a strong show in the IPL to be in the running. While there is no doubt about Jadeja's pedigree as an all-rounder, he has never been one to set the stage on fire in the IPL. Having said that, looking at the kind of form he has been in the past few months, things are likely to change for him in IPL 2020.
#1 MS Dhoni
A lot has been said and written about MS Dhoni's future in the Indian cricket team. The former Indian captain hasn't played any form of cricket since the World Cup. Speculations about Dhoni's retirement have grown exponentially in the last few days with the BCCI opting not to include him in central contract list.
However, cometh IPL and MSD will be back in the thick of things. CSK's charismatic skipper has been a key figure in the team's success over years. Dhoni was in stellar form in the last two seasons, scoring more than 400 runs in 2018 and 2019. CSK's batting was under the scanner last season and the team will want their skipper and the most experienced batsman to stand up and play some match-winning innings. It will also be interesting to see how Dhoni approaches this IPL. While a good IPL season will surely help Dhoni's chances to secure a place in the T20 World Cup squad, the question whether he actually wants to play for the country anymore still stands.