IPL 2019: CSK's strongest playing XI, in the absence of Ngidi, to face RCB
The Chennai Super Kings have been dealt a huge blow to their title hopes as star overseas pacer Lungi Ngidi has been ruled out of the tournament with a Grade 2 muscle strain leaving CSK without enough bite in their pace bowling attack. While a suitable replacement is being searched, CSK isn't likely to field in the replacement player for the season opener against RCB.
MS Dhoni and co. would have had some plans with Ngidi in the side but without him, they may have to make a few alterations to their team combination based on the pitch as well as this situation.
CSK will take on RCB on 23rd March 2019 at 8:00 pm at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. While CSK has been struck by this injury, RCB won't have the services of Nathan Coulter-Nile and Marcus Stoinis due to international duty.
So without further ado, let's take a look at CSK's strongest playing XI in the absence of Lungi Ngidi.
Openers: Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu
CSK's opening pair is likely to remain the same throughout the season no matter what the circumstance is. Ambati Rayudu and Shane Watson scored a combined 1160 runs last season and both of them were in the top 10 run-getters list and this meant a huge boost at the top for CSK.
Watson doesn't have the weight of international cricket on him and is a much more dangerous player considering the amount of T20 cricket he has played and the experience he has garnered. He hasn't bowled much in other T20 leagues, though and with players like Kedar Jadhav returning, Watson's bowling burden may be removed.
Despite Virat Kohli's statement that IPL won't have bearing on World Cup selection, Rayudu has a lot to play for this season and the pressure of the World Cup spot will be on his mind. He seems a different player at the top order and the full strength of his confident stroke-making will be on display. If he stays long enough, Rayudu can help CSK post some really big totals on the board.