Chennai Super Kings (CSK), led by MS Dhoni, will be aiming for their fourth Indian Premier League (IPL) title. However, CSK will miss the services of their ‘Chinna Thala’ Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh, both of whom have pulled out due to personal reasons.

Captain: Dhoni

T20 is a format that’s fickle, but CSK have somehow maintained consistency, reaching the IPL knockouts in each of the 10 seasons they have been a part of. And Dhoni deserves a lot of credit for his tactics and judgment.

As far as Dhoni’s IPL future goes, there are hardly any doubts. N Srinivasan, the former BCCI president and head of India Cements, which owns the CSK franchise, had confirmed that Dhoni would be retained for the 2021 season.

Coach: Stephen Fleming

The former New Zealand captain was lured into the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008 where he played for CSK. He was appointed as the team’s coach the next year and has ensured a successful partnership with Dhoni, helping CSK win three titles.

Squad

Narayan Jagadeesan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, KM Asif, Ravindra Jadeja, M Vijay, MS Dhoni, Josh Hazlewood, Kedar Jadhav, Karn Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Ambati Rayudu, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Faf du Plessis, Shardul Thakur, Mitchell Santner, Dwayne Bravo, Lungi Ngidi, Sam Curran, Monu Kumar, Shane Watson, Sai Kishore

Past Record

2008 – Runners-up

2009 – Semifinalist

2010 – Champions

2011 – Champions

2012 – Runners-up

2013 – Runners-up

2014 – Third

2015 – Runners-up

2018 – Champions

2019 – Runners-up

(NOTE: In July 2015, CSK were suspended from the cash-rich cricket league for two years for betting activities of their key official Gurunath Meiyappan during the 2013 season. )

IPL 2019 Performance

CSK, the then defending champions, kicked off their campaign in style with a resounding seven-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore. With nine victories, Dhoni’s side ended the league stage at the second position. They lost to Mumbai Indians (MI) in Qualifier 1, before getting the better of Delhi Capitals (DC) in Qualifier 2. The summit clash against MI was a nail-biting one as Rohit Sharma’s men defended a moderate total of 149 by one run. Joy for MI, heartbreak for Dad’s Army!

New Additions

The Super Kings got what they wanted – two very fine picks in Sam Curran (allrounder) and Josh Hazlewood (fast bowler). Legspinner Piyush Chawla surprisingly attracted a INR 6.75 Crore bid from the already spin-rich CSK. But in Harbhajan’s absence, Chawla will have a crucial role to play.

Key Players

Ravindra Jadeja

A veteran of 170 IPL matches, it will be Jadeja’s duty to provide strong finishes while batting lower down the order. As a fielder, he is inarguably the best CSK have. As a spinner, the 31-year-old has the ability to strike at crucial intervals. During CSK’s two-year hiatus, its players were scattered across and Jadeja was picked by the now-defunct Gujarat Lions. With CSK returning in 2018, he was among the three players retained – a proof of how much he is valued by the franchise.

Shane Watson

A 39-year old allrounder with any other team might have been facing a long time on the sidelines. But not with the CSK. With 953 runs and six wickets across the last two seasons, Watson justified his captain’s faith in him. As one of the world’s foremost T20 freelancers, the Australian’s experience will come handy for the three-time champions.

IPL 2020 Prediction

Despite missing a couple of senior players, CSK have a balanced squad. A top-four spot looks a realistic and achievable target.