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Can CSK afford to tamper with the team?

Sunday, April 18, 2021 • Tamil Comments

Chennai Super Kings (CSK), which would be led for a record 200th time by the ageing legend Mahendra Singh Dhoni, is to take on ever-vulnerable Rajasthan Royals (RR), led by MSD’s wicket-keeping counterpart Sanju Samson (who has taken over the reins from Steve Smith who has been traded by Delhi Capitals), on Monday night (19th April) at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai in the 14th edition of the ongoing IPL.

Slow-starters

After losing its first match against DC despite scoring heavily, CSK managed to silence its detractors by putting it across convincingly against Punjab Kings (PBKS) on Friday night at Mumbai. Long-criticized as a team comprising more 30+ players than any other team in the fray, CSK has always been under pressure to deliver to keep in check the ‘I-told-you-though’ kind of relentless and often meaningless critics.

Moeen at home in CSK

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan’s comments “Moeen has found his rightful home in Dhoni’s Chennai” sum up CSK’s change of fortunes. Moeen Ali, replacing the perennial No.3 Suresh Raina for CSK, fired with the bat in both the matches; with his spin and decent fielding, he is just the kind of guy CSK wanted. A guy who bats, fields and bowls well is obviously welcome in any team; CSK is no exception.

Winning mode ought to continue

CSK’s bowlers came to the party in the last match with Deepak Chahar, the leader of the pace attack, bagging the ‘Man of the Match’ award against PBKS. Sam Curran was his usual best but the duo of Shardul Thakur and Dwayne Bravo need to keep it tight in the middle and last overs. Jadeja, Moeen give MSD the flexibility in bowling.

Long-billed as the spectators’ darling, CSK needs to deliver and deliver consistently in the remaining matches to first make the play-offs and then give the killer-punch to win the title, which has eluded it for the past three years.

Though CSK has won its last match it has its own drawbacks. Opener Ruturaj’s form and the non inclusion of Imran Tahir are its concerns. As of now the team cannot afford to any of its foreign players to include Tahir and all of them are quite important in their own way. However, losing a proven match winner like Tahir would also spell danger in crucial games.

Bane of inconsistency

RR and CSK are in the same mould; both lost their first match and won their second. RR’s win against DC was unexpected as it was achieved by bowling all-rounders Chris Morris and Jaydev Unadkat. It has a mix of veteran and young players but lack of consistency has always been its bane; except making the finals of the inaugural tourney in 2008, RR hasn’t done well all these years and its fans would surely hope for a turn-around.

Both the teams are likely to stick to the same XI for Monday’s match.

CSK: Ruturaj, du Plessis, Moeen, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MSD, Jadeja, Sam Curran, Bravo, Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar

RR: Butler, Manan Vohra, Sanju Samson, Shivam Dube, David Miller, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Chris Morris, Jaydev Unadkat, Chetan Sakariya and Mustafizur

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