Chennai Super Kings made a comeback into the Indian Premier League after a gap of two years with a stunning victory against the defending champions Mumbai Indians in the very first match of the tournament.
While getting off to a winning start is great for the Chennai team, Dhoni’s side weren’t at their very best in the first game as it was more of a Dwayne Bravo-show rather than an all-round victory.
The Caribbean all-rounder was superb, as single-handedly took his team over the line with a stunning performance with both bat and ball.
Murali Vijay will be the best replacement for the injured Jadhav as he would relieve Rayudu of the burden of opening the innings. Vijay is also a player who has played majority of his cricket on Chepauk, which makes him a great addition to the side.
Watson is a definite choice in the Playing XI and he will open the innings along with Vijay, if Faf du Plessis is fit. If Faf is unfit, Dhoni might go for Sam Billings and Watson might have to drop down the order to accommodate Billings at the top.
The highest run scorer in IPL history, Suresh Raina will return to his favoured number three spot for CSK, as the iconic player will once again be the batting talisman of the Chennai side.
The batting will surely revolve around Raina, as he will look to be the batting linchpin of the side.
Rayudu will most probably bat down the order in the next match in the absence of Jadhav as he will provide the team with the much needed stability in the middle order.
MS Dhoni (Captain)
The legendary MS Dhoni should play at number five in this batting order, as CSK’s captain will be tasked with building the innings before he gives it a final flourish.
At this stage of his career, Dhoni will need some time to get in, which is why this is the best spot for him in this lineup.
The Englishman will most probably be replacing his teammate Mark Wood who was really poor in the last game and conceded 43 runs in his full quota of 4 overs. Billings will also strengthen the middle order which looked shaky in the last game.
Jadeja had a horrible game at the Wankhede and many were questioning his presence in the side. The next match will be played in Chennai and Dhoni would look to have three spinners in his side and therefore Jadeja will be a definite pick for the next game.
Bravo was the hero for the Chennai Super Kings in the first match and one can expect Bravo to bat at number 6 ahead of Ravindra Jadeja against KKR. Bravo’s main job however would be to bowl well in the death overs.
Harbhajan Singh played the first game and conceded 14 runs in his two overs. While he was disciplined in his two overs, he didn’t bowl many wicket-taking balls.
The Kolkata side is filled with right-handers and Dhoni might be tempted to go for Karn Sharma, who is a leg spinner.
Imran Tahir is another bowler who had a poor first match as he conceded 23 runs in his two overs and picked a wicket for his side. One would expect Chennai to continue with Tahir for the next game as the Chepauk wicket would suit him.
Deepak Chahar was the most impressive bowler for the Chennai team in the first match as he bowled three overs for just 14 runs and picked up an important wicket of Evin Lewis, who was dismissed for a duck.
Chahar was picked ahead of the experienced Shardul Thakur and it turned out to be a great decision. He looked good in the first game and Dhoni is the kind of captain who likes to stick with his players and Chahar will be a definite pick for the next game.