The playoff regulars will open the match with what is predicted to be an intense conflict towards defending champions Mumbai Indians on Saturday (September 19) in Abu Dhabi.

In the run-up to this showdown, the aspect has battled 13 COVID-19 instances, together with two gamers, and pullouts by the senior duo of Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh attributable to private causes. But as Virender Sehwag aptly put it, the main target is more likely to be solely on Dhoni’s return to the sector precisely 34 days after he known as time on his worldwide profession.

Having led CSK to 3 titles and eight finals, nobody is aware of the IPL pitch higher than Chennai’s very personal “Thala”, whose most utilisation of accessible sources is the stuff of legends.

It can be a brand new match for Dhoni in barely unfamiliar environment, away from “Fort Chepauk” and with out his most trusted lieutenant in Canary Yellow, Raina. It is not going to be simple to change a batting line-up of 10 seasons by which Raina has been probably the most influential No Three within the historical past of IPL.

Save for the final season, when the left-hander was in horrendous type, Raina has been excellent for the aspect. It was credit score to Dhoni and his marshalling of sources that CSK nonetheless reached the ultimate final yr with none tangible contribution from their “Chinna Thala”.

One may not see Dhoni enjoying the IPL past 2021, which is one other six months from now, however for followers this version, specifically, may very well be a captaincy master-class by way of technique with a core crew of 35-year-olds.

The coinage ‘Dad’s Army’, nonetheless indulgent it would sound, has a detrimental connotation however this bunch of ‘Oldies’ imagine in sensible work greater than arduous work. So, whereas Ambati Rayudu and Shane Watson are anticipated to open the innings, Faf du Plessis can are available at No 3. The skipper, on plenty of events, has promoted himself to No.four and can be completely satisfied to get set enjoying just a few extra balls.

The cheeky Kedar Jadhav is predicted to play at No.5 and can be one of many designated finishers on this line-up together with Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja at Nos 6 and seven respectively.

This is a line-up which is nice for the sluggish tracks in UAE, a skil it has demonstrated again and again in Chepauk. Once Sam Curran is eligible to play after the mandated quarantine, he could be a floater within the batting order. He may even be helpful together with his swing bowling. CSK has been a spin heavy crew and can go in with three specialist tweakers.

Mitchell Santner and Piyush Chawla are the specialists in rivalry for first XI spots and they’re going to have Ravindra Jadeja for firm. Lungi Ngidi and Deepak Chahar, who has recovered from COVID-19, are the frontline pacers who’re anticipated to start out.

In case Chahar isn’t absolutely match match, his like for like substitute can be Shardul Thakur similar to Imran Tahir for Chawla and Josh Hazlewood (as soon as out there) for Ngidi. Given the stability of the aspect, it would not be a shock to see CSK defy all odds to compete of their 11th play-off in as many IPL appearances.

Squad: MS Dhoni (captain, wk), M Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner, Josh Hazlewood, Shardul Thakur, Sam Curran, N Jagadeesan, KM Asif, Monu Kumar, R Sai Kishore, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Karn Sharma.

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