My Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Fleming

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are one of the best teams in the history of IPL. They are the only team who have reached the play-offs in every IPL they have been part of. They have won the title 3 times and are always one of the favourites going into an IPL season. The biggest constant for the franchise has been their two legends in batting, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni. Suresh Raina at number 3 has been a regular for CSK and him pulling out leaves a huge hole in the top order.

Raina also is an IPL legend with 5368 runs in the tournament in 193 games. In the absence of the southpaw, CSK will be forced to reshuffle their batting order. While Shane Watson is a fix at the top, the opening role might go to Murali Vijay who has been struggling in this format over the past few seasons. Ruturaj Gaikwad is another option CSK might mull over considering his T20 record at the domestic level. In the absence of Raina, Ambati Rayudu is most likely to take over the number 3 spot.

The number 4 spot will most likely go to the Faf Du Plessis to spruce up the top order in the absence of Suresh Raina. This would mean that there will be space for only two more foreign players in the X1. Kedar Jadhav at 5 and MS Dhoni at 6 will complete the top 6 of CSK.

Dwayne Bravo will mostly grab the pace bowling all-rounder spot followed by Ravindra Jadeja as the lead spinner. Here is where things get exciting for CSK. For the first time they have a good group of fast bowlers especially the international group with Josh Hazlewood, Lungi Ngidi and Sam Curran. Hazlewood and Curran are coming in match fit. Both of them have been in good form for their respective sides in limited overs games. CSK though would be in dilemma as all three fast bowlers are fantastic. If the CSK camp are to be believed, Lungi Ngidi has been bowling with serious pace in the practice games. Sam Curran on the other hand gives CSK with lower order batting along with his left arm swing. Josh Hazlewood gives them with control with the new ball.

This for sure will be a hard choice as there is space for only one foreign pace bowler in the X1. Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar will also be in the mix as one of them has to play in the X1. The other selection trouble for CSK is the spin bowling department. They have Imran Tahir in the squad as well but again Piyush Chawla who was snapped up for a fortune in the auction last year will take the second spinner spot in the X1. Only one of Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur will find space in the X1.

The pace bowling combination is something which CSK will have a lot to think about. To decide between 3 world class bowlers will not be easy at all considering they might be able to play only one of them at most times.

CSK have a great squad this time with the right amount of experience and talent. The biggest challenge for them this season would be to get the right combination on the field. The team management will have lots of thinking to do ahead of their clash against last years champions Mumbai Indians in the first game of the season. It will be interesting to see what Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni have in mind regarding the team combination.

My CSK XI for the first game:

Murali Vijay, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Faf Du Plessis, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (WK & Capt), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla, Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar

Chennai Super Kings win the IPL III defeating Mumbai Indians

Two semi-finals and one final appearance later Chennai Super Kings lead by Dhoni won the IPL title defeating Mumbai at D Y Patil stadium in Mumbai. It was a brilliant win by CSK as they were almost down and out half way through the tournament. Credit has to be given to the captain and the support staff along with the players who showed tremendous mental fortitude to script this turnaround.

For Mumbai though this was a day of mistakes as dropped catches and poor decisions with batting order punctuated their performance in the finals. Sachin Tendulkar will be really disappointed as Mumbai Indians were the best side in this IPL. Even though I was happy to see Chennai Super Kings win, I was really sad to see Sachin in the losing side. But in the end Dhoni’s captaincy and Chennai’s superior fielding was the difference between the two sides.

When Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat everyone knew that Chennai had the upper hand as teams chasing at the D Y Patil stadium had struggled in the past. The Chennai batsmen started cautiously with Hayden’s continued struggle at the top of the order and with Vijay having to do the bulk of the scoring. But the real push for the Chennai innings came when Dhoni joined Raina at the middle as they both hammered the Mumbai bowlers to set up a competitive total. Mumbai Indians did not help themselves as they fluffed two chances both of Suresh Raina and the Chennai batsman made them pay with an unbeaten 57 of 35 balls.
When Mumbai began their chase in the pursuit of 169 to win the IPL III crown Doug Bollinger and Ravichandran Ashwin choked them for runs. Bollinger sent Dhawan early and Sachin along with Nayyar forged a decent partnership but the run rate was well within control for the CSK. Murali, Ashwin and Jakati were difficult to get away and the Chennai fielders put lots of pressure on the Mumbai batsmen. Even though Keiron Pollard’s late flourish gave some hopes to MI chances, Chennai Super Kings won the game comfortably by 22 runs in the end.

It was a brilliant display by the Chennai team which was brilliantly led by their cool captain Dhoni. Stephen Fleming the coach of Chennai Super Kings also deserves a special mention along with the other support staff. Chennai was helped by the arrival of the Aussie Doug Bollinger as his presence in the team provided the much needed potency to the bowling attack. Dhoni’s decision to open the bowling with Ashwin turned out to be the masterstroke as the youngster responded brilliantly to finish as the most economical bowler of the IPL III. Suresh Raina as usual was brilliant and the turnaround of Vijay from a correct player to a swashbuckling opener was amazing. Badri was consistent and Anirudha Srikkanth played couple of crucial knocks in the end. Murali and Morkel should not be forgotten as they both contributed handsomely towards the CSK progress throughout the tournament.

Dhoni was brilliant with the bat and was very shrewd with his captaincy. Even though Chennai was not the best team in IPL III but they were the most consistent team across the three IPL’s. They were for sure the most deserving champions in IPL.


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