Top 4 CSK's smartest picks in recent times

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Chennai Super Kings have been the most successful IPL team in the league's history. The fact that they use their auction purse judiciously and give importance to experience over flamboyance, has been the reason for their success.

CSK's squads have always had loads of international players with good T20 experience. They have never bid for players just on the basis of reputation. Instead, they have bid for locally available talent from sources such as TNPL and other domestic tournaments.

CSK's teams have always been balanced which gives them a number of options. Over the years, there have been many players both Indian and International who were smart buys and eventually became the game changers for the franchise.

The team has had its fair share of controversies over the years, but one needs to agree that CSK's team management has some astute brains which does its homework well before the auctions.

On that note, let us have a look at some of the players who turned out to be smart buys for the Chennai based franchise:

#5 Lungi Ngidi - 2018

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Lungi Ngidi is an exciting fast-bowling prospect. He has forged a strong bowling combination for South Africa with Kagiso Rabada. Ngidi's exploits in the 2018 Test series against India and Australia got him into the reckoning for an IPL berth.

Ngidi had also played an important part in the T20 series against Sri Lanka in 2017. He had a dream debut where he was adjudged as the player of the match and was one of the highest wicket-takers in the Africa Cup. He is quite hostile and bowls consistently over 145 clicks.

These attributes convinced CSK and they bid for Ngidi and they got him at a price of 50 lakhs. Considering the future potential, Ngidi can become CSK's strike bowler in the future.

Ngidi had a great season for CSK even though he played only 7 matches. He performed admirably well and picked up 11 wickets with a best of 4/10. Also, he gave his runs at an economy of 6 which was very impressive.

#3 Ambati Rayudu - 2018

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Ambati Rayudu is an IPL star. He has been part of the IPL since 2010. He represented Mumbai Indians for most part of his IPL career and was part of three successful campaigns with the franchise.

In 2018, Rayudu was pushed into the auctions and was picked up by CSK for 2.2 crores. It was a very good price for the skills he brings to the table.

Rayudu was asked to open the innings and collaborated with Shane Watson for the first time. The duo became a deadly opening combo for CSK, smashing bowlers around and giving blistering starts to CSK throughout the tournament.

Rayudu finished with his best IPL returns, scoring a mammoth 602 runs in 16 matches at an average of 43 and at a strike rate of 149.75. He also scored a hundred and 3 fifties with a highest of 100*

Rayudu will be a vital cog in CSK's wheel of batting in the 2019 IPL.

#2 Shane Watson - 2018

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Shane Watson is an impact player who can change matches in the wink of an eye. Watson has been a veteran all-rounder in the IPL with over 117 games under his belt. He has scored a total of 3177 runs with 4 hundreds and 16 fifties and has picked up 92 wickets.

Watson was bought previously by RCB for 9.5 Crores but he could not live up to the potential. He was pushed to the auctions to probably free-up the purse. Delhi Daredevils, RCB and CSK were involved in a bidding battle and eventually, CSK won it by paying 4 crores. Considering Watson's quality and experience, it was worth the risk.

When the 2018 season started, Watson was asked to open the innings, a job he had been familiar with. He forged a strong combination with Ambati Rayudu and the duo gave CSK some blistering starts throughout the tournament.

Watson eventually had his best IPL season with CSK, scoring 555 runs in 15 matches at an average of 39.64 with two swashbuckling centuries and 2 fifties at a strike rate of 154.71. He also picked up 6 wickets with the ball and usually bowled some useful overs in the middle.

Watto justified his tag as a specialist all-rounder and CSK would be hoping for more from the southpaw in the upcoming edition of the tournament.

#1 Dwayne Bravo - 2012 to 2015 & 2018

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Dwayne Bravo has been one of the most influential players in the IPL. He was initially part of Mumbai Indians and the franchise could not use him to his full potential. CSK always have shown interest in quality all-rounders and they bid for Bravo who became a part of the CSK family from 2012.

Bravo has been one of the smartest T20 cricketers around the world. The value he brings to the table with his belligerent batting, smart bowling and electrifying fielding is immense. He has had impact performances right from the first season.

Bravo scored 371 runs with the bat at an average of 47 and ended the 2012 IPL season with 15 wickets and became CSK's highest wicket-taker.

Bravo won the Purple Cap for being the highest wicket-taker in 2013 IPL with 32 wickets at an average of 9.50. He won his second Purple Cap playing for CSK with 26 wickets in the 2015 IPL. Bravo was retained by CSK in 2018 IPL using the Right-to-Match card for 6.40 Crores.

Bravo will be appearing for CSK in the 2019 IPL and he will be one of the match-winners for sure.

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Edited by Kumud Ranjan
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