At the halfway mark, CSK were comfortably seated at the top spot. Although it is still almost certain that they would qualify through to the playoffs, 2 defeats in their last 3 games would certainly not have gone well with the team management.
Moreover, both their defeats against KKR and MI followed the same pattern. They were put in to bat and could only manage a subpar total. Coupled with some ordinary bowling, the opposition raced to the target with ease and Chennai were left wondering.
Now, they are faced with RCB who are coming fresh of a victory. Dhoni does not like to make too many changes to his playing XI but with the dodgy bowling, one-off change is expected.
Watson has been batting well up the order. He recently scored a century and contributed with 36 and 78 in the last two games. He would like to ride on his form and go big from ball one.
However, he has been shuffled along in the batting order, Rayudu is most suited at the top of the order. He was sent at No. 4 in the last match against KKR but could not weave the same magic. Chances are rife that he would open the batting and Faf du Plessis would be pushed down in the batting order.
Suresh Raina has been batting at No. 3 for CSK since the time one can remember. He has had a mixed bag as far as IPL 2018 is concerned but he can easily turn the tables on his day.
MS Dhoni would ideally come at No. 4. The only case when this may change is if CSK lose too many early wickets. Once MSD gets a few balls under his belt, he is a completely different player altogether.
Faf du Plessis
After scoring a run-a-ball 33 in the last to last match, du Plessis found some strike rate in the last game against KKR. He scored 27 off 15 balls but failed to pick a wrong’un from Piyush Chawla. He still deserves a place in the side but he must bat in the middle order.
Dwayne Bravo is one player who has been underutilized by skipper Dhoni. MSD would now look to get a bit more out of the Windies all rounder. As his bowling is gradually waning, it is time that Bravo is promoted up the order.
Ravindra Jadeja became the butt of all jokes after dropping a couple of sitters against Kolkata. He bowled his full quota of overs but proved very expensive. With the bat also, he could not step up his game when needed. This makes a solid case for him to be demoted in the batting order.
Harbhajan has been quite good for CSK this season. He has not picked a lot of wickets but has bowled tight line and lengths. For three games on a trot, he has ended as Chennai’s most economical bowler and would retain his place in the side.
Chahar recently said in an interview that his hamstring was a lot better. If he is match fit, Chahar would certainly get a nod. Karn Sharma who has bowled only one over in the last two matches would make way for the pacer.
KM Asif bowled well the other night and was unfortunate that he could just pick up one wicket. Asif has raw pace and gives some variety to the CSK bowling
After being impressive in his IPL debut match, Ngidi bowled well in the last game. He took the all-important wicket of Chris Lynn in the first over. This helped CSK be in the match and at least stage a tough fight.