IPL 2019: How Chennai Super Kings should lineup against Kings XI Punjab
The Chennai Super Kings host the Kings XI Punjab in the afternoon game on Saturday at the Chepauk Stadium in Chennai. This will be a top of the table clash as KXIP are currently second on the IPL points table, while CSK are third on net run rate.
CSK endured their first loss of the season against the Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium and it was the first time in the tournament that MS Dhoni's men had been completely outplayed with both bat and ball. Their will be some forced changes from the CSK playing XI as Dwayne Bravo has been ruled out for two weeks due to injury.
So, keeping all that in mind, here is the strongest possible starting XI of CSK for the match against KXIP:
Openers: Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis
Shane Watson hasn't had a great start to the IPL thus far as his only substantial innings came against the Delhi Capitals earlier in the tournament. The Australian is very important to this CSK side and he has to find his form, starting with against KXIP.
His partner will be Faf du Plessis and the South African should replace an out of form Ambati Rayudu from the playing XI. Rayudu has looked out of sorts this year and he was out for a duck against MI in the last match, and he should be replaced by the CSK's star from last year; du Plessis.
Middle Order: Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, and MS Dhoni
Suresh Raina has looked decent so far this year, as he has started in most of the games, but he just hasn't kicked on from that to get a big score. It was the same case against MI when he got out after looking really good, and this is something he would be looking to rectify against KXIP.
Kedar Jadhav, alongside MS Dhoni, seem to be CSK's best batsmen thus far and the little pocket dynamo scored 58 runs off 54 balls against MI. It was a slow innings from Jadhav, but it kept CSK in the game. The 34-year-old will be looking to continue in the same vein of form against Punjab.
MS Dhoni has looked at his vintage best this year and his innings against Rajasthan Royals was absolutely brilliant to watch. He failed to finish the game against MI, but that is a rare failure for Captain Cool. Dhoni will return to his den against KXIP on Saturday.
All-Rounders: Scott Kuggelien and Ravindra Jadeja
With Dwayne Bravo ruled out for two weeks due to a hamstring injury, his replacement should be a direct one in the form of the New Zealand batting all-rounder Scott Kuggelien. He has genuine pace and can clock around 140 kph consistently with his bowling, plus the New Zealander can also strike a long ball with his batting.
Ravindra Jadeja has been brilliant with the ball this year, but he has been inconsistent with the bat. The southpaw is indispensable to this CSK side and his all-round skills will be put to test against KXIP again.
Bowlers: Harbhajan Singh, Mohit Sharma, Deepak Chahar and Imran Tahir
Harbhajan Singh is likely to be drafted into the XI as the Chennai pitch is dry and always assists spin, so him alongside Imran Tahir are going to be vital against KXIP. Harbhajan's battle with Chris Gayle will be brilliant to see and Imran Tahir will also have his task cut out against the likes of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal.
The pace battery of CSK will be an all Indian one as Deepak Chahar is a proper wicket-taker with the new ball and Mohit Sharma is likely to be preferred over Shardul Thakur as the latter hasn't done enough to be in the starting XI.