IPL 2021 Phase 2: Chennai Super Kings- 3 key players, squad, strengths and weaknesses, fixtures ahead of IPL’s UAE return- MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings had a forgettable campaign in the UAE last season as they managed to finish outside the playoff spots for the first time in IPL history. The three-time champions however roared back to their best as the tournament returned to India and saw themselves rise to second in the points table in the IPl 2021 Phase 1. Now as the tournament heads back to UAE, here’s a look at the CSK squad and the potential replacements for players who might miss out.
Chennai Super Kings squad: MS Dhoni (C), Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ambati Rayudu, Imran Tahir, Josh Hazlewood, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Lungi Ngidi, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, K Gowtam, Sam Curran, Robin Uthappa, Mitchell Santner, Jagadeesan N, KM Asif, R Sai Kishore, C Hari Nishaanth, M Harisankar Reddy, K Bhagath Verma
The good news for CSK is that the entirety of the squad is free from national team commitments and should be available for IPL 2021 Phase 2. Doubts remain over the participation of Josh Hazlewood, who had opted out of Phase 1 due to COVID-19 protocols but will likely return to the UAE with the T20 World Cup in mind.
While Moeen Ali and Sam Curran were at the risk of missing the entire tournament, the postponement of the England and Bangladesh series meant that the duo are likely to be available for the majority of the tournament. Should CSK make the playoffs, their involvement will be dicey with England said to play two T20Is against Pakistan during the same period. Mitchell Santner is also likely to be available for the IPL 2021 Phase 2, despite New Zealand’s series against Pakistan.
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IPL 2021 Phase 2: CSK’s Strengths
CSK struggled with the bat in the UAE, but their batting this season has been bolstered by Moeen Ali and the return of Suresh Raina. Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis have done for MS Dhoni’s side like last season, while Ravindra Jadeja and Ambati Rayudu have chipped in with cameos in the middle. CSK bat deep with Dwayne Bravo potentially coming in at No.9, while they boast seven bowling options including Moeen and Jadeja, to make it an evenly balanced XI.
IPL 2021 Phase 2: CSK’s Weaknesses
CSK’s bowling struggled in the UAE last season, with no bowler picking more than Sam Curran’s tally of 13 wickets. MS Dhoni will hope that his spinners can get their lengths right and return among the wickets, and the addition of Moeen Ali should bolster after the likes of Piyush Chawla and Imran Tahir struggled last season.
IPL 2021 Phase 2: Three Key players for CSK
- Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali was one of CSK’s biggest purchases in the auction and the England all-rounder justified it with some brilliant performances during Phase 1. Ali scored 206 runs in seven games and picked five wickets, chipping in effectively with both bat and ball. The Englishman will be key as CSK will look to get quick starts in the powerplay and his ability to get runs at pace will be an asset to MS Dhoni.
2. Sam Curran
Sam Curran was CSK’s find last season and MS Dhoni would hope that the youngster can continue to chip in with performances when they set up camp in UAE. Curran scored 186 runs and picked up 13 wickets in 14 games last season, chipping in with valuable runs and wickets at the death overs in both innings. Curran did not get many chances with the bat this season, but showcased his ability and had a strike-rate of 208.00 in Phase 1.
3. MS Dhoni
Captain, leader, legend. The IPL 2021 Phase 2 could be the last time MS Dhoni lines up in CSK colours and the 40-year-old will be itching to make a dash at the IPL trophy. Dhoni has struggled to shine with the bat in the last two seasons and his hitting at the death will be needed for CSK if they aim to claim a fourth title.