My Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘Dwayne Bravo

Chennai Super Kings haven’t had the greatest of seasons so far. With just 3 wins from 9 games their chances of getting to the playoffs is thinning with every loss. Their loss against Delhi Capitals over the weekend was a must win game to keep their confidence going but again despite putting up a good total their bowling and fielding let that chance slip.

While Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab kept their hopes alive with a moral boosting win, they also put a lot of pressure on CSK and Rajasthan Royals. CSK not only lost the game against Delhi Capitals, they also lost their star all-rounder Dwayne Bravo to injury. Losing him mid game and having to bowl Ravindra Jadeja in the final over cost them dearly. This would also mean that they would have to change their team combination once again. CSK haven’t been able to field a settled combination so far this season and Bravo’s absence is not going to be easy.

The middle order batting options isn’t something which is abundant in CSK’s arsenal. They only have Kedar Jadhav and Narayan Jagadeesan in their squad to fill that slot. The other decision they need to make is between Josh Hazlewood and Lungi Ngidi. Kedhar Jadhav had a poor IPL and was a regular for CSK in the first few games. He isn’t bowling anymore which means that he needs to play only as a batter in the XI. He really struggled with the bat this season and him not being the fastest mover on the field might weigh heavy in the decision making process. Jagadeesan played only one game for CSK and scored 30 odd, it would be unfair to not give him another chance in the XI.

The other option Dhoni & Co have is playing an extra spinner in Piyush Chawla in place of Bravo which also might be one of the discussion points. The other pickle CSK have is that with Bravo missing they need to plug their death bowling void. Bravo and Shardul Thakur did that for CSK in the last few games and with the former injured they need to decide between Hazlewood and Ngidi for that spot. Ngidi does seem the natural choice but again Hazlewood provides CSK with wickets with the new ball. It will be a tough call for the team management ahead of their all important game against Rajasthan Royals.

Making change to the playing XI is always tough but doing it when you are not particularly performing well as a team is even more difficult. CSK will know that any more slip up would mean that their chances of making it to the final four will almost be over. This is a must win the pressure is enormous on MS Dhoni and Stephen Fleming.

My Playing XI:

Sam Curran, Faf Du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, N Jagadeesan/Piyush Chawla, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Karn Sharma, Lungi Ngidi

CSK’s start to this season of the IPL has been erratic so far. A fantastic win against Mumbai Indians were followed by two insipid performances against Delhi Capitals and Rajasthan Royals. The biggest issue for the men in yellow has been their batting order. The openers have struggled to provide good starts and Ambati Rayudu missing out after a brilliant 70 odd hasn’t helped the combination either.

CSK will be playing SRH tonight who themselves have been struggling with their team combination at the start of the tournament. The only difference between the two sides is that SRH are coming off a morale boosting win while CSK have been beaten in their last couple of games. CSK management would have to make some tough calls with team selection to arrest the slide and to get back on track.

The first step towards the same would be to drop Murali Vijay from the XI. Vijay has done exceedingly well for CSK in the past but he is currently looking listless and isn’t contributing with the bat or in the field. Ruturaj Gaikwad who has been wasted down the order can open with Shane Watson pushing Ambati Rayudu and Faf Du Plessis to number 3 and 4 in the order. Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni forming the top 6 forming a more solid batting order.

If fit Dwayne Bravo can come in at number 7 following by Jadeja at 8 and Sam Curran at 9. Sam Curran can be a floater as he has been at the start of the tournament for CSK. Deepak Chahar and Piyush Chawla would be taking up the remaining spots. This would give CSK great balance with three all-rounders and two genuine bowlers in the line up. Dwayne Bravo’s selection though might not be straight forward though. There is very good chance that Josh Hazlewood or Imran Tahir might make the XI. Based on who is selected one of Piyush Chawla and Shardul Thakur also might make the XI

There are a few selection headaches for the CSK management when they sit down to select the playing XI for tonight. With losses in the last couple of games CSK need a quick turnaround and another loss would set their campaign way back. There are lots of issues with the CSK squad this season and they do not have too many options to replace the injured players. They would need to be creative with their options would need to make most of the players they have.

My CSK XI:

Shane Watson, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ambati Rayudu, Faf Du Plessis, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (Capt & WK), Dwayne Bravo/Josh Hazlewood, Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla, Deepak Chahar

When Suresh Raina decided to leave at the start of this season everyone expected CSK’s gameplan to take a hit. They were carrying two out of form openers and a bunch of rusty middle order bats. Raina who adds a great dimension to the CSK batting order has left a huge hole which I don’t think the team management were prepared for.

For some weird reason in the last years auction CSK went after bowlers but did not invest much on the batting front. The opening combination especially is pretty dicey for CSK. Murali Vijay who was once an explosive and consistent opener for CSK is just a shadow of the batsman he once was. His confidence seems to be non existent and that showed even during his fielding in the first game against Mumbai Indians. Shane Watson who was CSK’s star in their win in 2018 hasn’t been playing competitive cricket for a while now and that has shown in his form over the last couple of seasons.

This puts enormous pressure on Ambati Rayudu and Faf Du Plessis as the starts haven’t been what they would need for a T20 game. When Rayudu missed the game against RR due to injury CSK’s batting woes came into view for everyone to see. Ruturaj Gaikwad got a chance but we cannot be hard on the youngster after just one game. CSK would need to think about Murali Vijay’s role in the team. He has been poor in the field and has struggled to get going with the bat which means they would have to take a quick call once Rayudu comes back.

The problem for the men in yellow is that they do not have too many options in the squad. This leaves pretty less room for experimentation for the team management. The lack of batting options mean that CSK need to try and promote Ruturaj Gaikwad to open the batting alongside Shane Watson. This would also mean that Rayudu and Faf can play in their respective positions. Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni need to improve fast and soon in the middle order and they need to hope that Sam Curran continues to be excellent like he has been so far for the franchise.

The other major change CSK will be looking at is replacing Lungi Ngidi. The big South African made a great comeback in the first game but hasn’t been consistent enough. Josh Hazlewood can be given a chance in the upcoming games or even Shardul Thakur can get a look in which can allow CSK to play Dwayne Bravo or Imran Tahir based on the wicket for the upcoming games. Lots of things for the Stephen Fleming and co to think about ahead of their next game. The lack of batting options is something which might come back to bite them later in the season. For now moving around a few players is all they can do hoping that will be enough to get through this season.


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