IPL 2019, CSK vs KXIP: 3 Changes that CSK should make for the match
Ravichandran Ashwin returns to his home ground for the first time after leaving Chennai Super Kings as Kings XI Punjab travel to Chennai to face the three-time IPL champions. Both these teams are currently in the playoff spots in the IPL points table.
While KXIP won their last game against Delhi Capitals, CSK endured their first loss of IPL 2019 against MI. That was also the first time MS Dhoni's men were completely outplayed by a team, which suggests there is room for improvement.
There will be definitely be a couple of changes in the CSK playing XI from the last game against MI, as there are clearly some problems in the home team's lineup. Their openers aren't firing as both Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu have looked out of sorts so far. And barring Deepak Chahar, no one in their pace battery is looking capable of picking wickets. Moreover, Dwayne Bravo has been ruled out for 2 weeks due to a hamstring injury.
So keeping all that in mind, here are the 3 changes that CSK should make for the match against KXIP:
#1 Dwayne Bravo out - Scott Kuggeleijn in
This is more of a forced change as Bravo has been ruled out due to an injury. He would be sorely missed by MS Dhoni as the West Indian is CSK's only option to bowl at the death, and his all-round abilities are indispensable to the side.
There are a few players who can replace him, but Kuggeleijn could prove to be a swap.
Kuggeleijn is also an out-and-out all-rounder who can clock around 140 kph consistently, and he has that hard-hitting ability with the bat as well. The New Zealander will have his task cut out though, as he would be replacing one of the best all-rounders in IPL history.
#2 Shardul Thakur out - Harbhajan Singh in
This is more of a tactical change as Dhoni has so far preferred two fast bowlers to go with one all-rounder whenever CSK have played at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium. That's because the Chennai pitch is very dry and it always assists spin.
Harbhajan Singh will likely be drafted in as KXIP have quite a few left-handed batsmen in their side and also because Bhajji has usually had the better of the Universe Boss, Chris Gayle.
Shardul Thakur should be the one replaced as he hasn't been good enough with the ball so far, and Mohit Sharma was clearly better the other night against MI.
#3 Ambati Rayudu out - Faf du Plessis in
Ambati Rayudu hasn't enjoyed a great start to the IPL this year and his scores of 28, 5, 1 and 0 aren't good enough at the top of the order for CSK. He enjoyed a brilliant season last year, but this year he has clearly looked out of form with the bat.
His replacement could be CSK's playoffs star from last year, Faf du Plessis. The South African would he itching to get on the field wearing the yellow colors. He was fantastic for CSK at the top of the order last year and his consistency with the bat is sorely needed for the team.
Moreover, the South African captain is a brilliant fielder and he stops at least 10-15 runs in the park every match. He has a knack of producing something special on the field whenever he is close to the ball, which makes him a great asset to the side.