IPL 2020 UAE: Predicted 11 for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) without Suresh Raina

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Suresh Raina’s absence affects CSK’s combination as we look at the strongest predicted playing 11 of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for IPL 2020 matches in UAE.

“Please note, the following article has been modified as Harbhajan Singh has withdrawn from IPL 2020”. 

The August end weekend didn’t start on a good note for the Chennai Super Kings. While some of the players including Deepak Chahar and Ruturaj Gaikwad tested positive for COVID-19, the team suffered the biggest heartbreak after Suresh Raina returned home, and made himself unavailable for IPL 2020. 

Citing personal reasons, Suresh Raina made this announcement early morning on Saturday, August 29. This is big news for Chennai Super Kings, and their fans. Regarded as Mr. IPL, Suresh Raina has been CSK’s most reliable batsman, and with him being unavailable, it affects the team balance completely.

Suresh Raina is a very important member of the CSK squad. His association with CSK is very much similar to Virat Kohli & RCB, Rohit Sharma & Mumbai Indians, and MS Dhoni & CSK. Without Raina, not only CSK but also the IPL brand would be affected as Raina had a significant fan following. 

CSK can now announce a replacement for Suresh Raina, but it is unlikely they would do it. Firstly, there’s no Indian player of Suresh’s calibre available on bench, and secondly, CSK cannot name an equivalent overseas player as a replacement as they would then exceed their quota of 8 overseas players.


Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Squad for IPL 2020 UAE:

Batsmen: Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Murali Vijay, N Jagadeeshan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Suresh Raina

All-rounders: Dwayne Bravo, Kedar Jadhav, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, and Shane Watson

Bowlers: Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir, Josh Hazlewood, Karn Sharma, KM Asif, Lungi Ngidi, Monu Kumar, Piyush Chawla, R Sai Kishore, and Shardul Thakur


So, how does it affect the balance of CSK with Suresh Raina not being there? Whom would CSK replace Raina with? Would they go for an extra bowler or extra batsman as a replacement? Let’s look at the strongest predicted playing 11 for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for IPL 2020 UAE without Suresh Raina. 

Ideal and Strongest XI for CSK for IPL 2020 UAE:

Looking at the pitches of UAE, CSK, who play on similar pitches in Chennai would have looked to strengthen the batting, and surrounding their strategy around spinners. That means, Imran Tahir, Piyush Chawla, and Ravindra Jadeja would have been certain to play; initially at least.

The loss of Harbhajan Singh would take some beating on the CSK squad. He was the only bowler to turn the ball away from the left-handers. Had he been there, his variety as an off-spinner would have been important, and we would have definitely seen him ahead of Piyush Chawla. 

Their ideal and strongest playing 11 with Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh in it would have been Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, and Imran Tahir.


Do Check out: IPL 2020: Strongest Predicted 11 of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in UAE


Option 1: Shardul Thakur as an Extra Pacer

The ideal strongest playing 11 for Chennai Super Kings sees MS Dhoni relying on spinners as he usually does. With them strengthening the batting on slow and low pitches of UAE, they are playing with only 5 primary bowlers with Kedar Jadhav & Shane Watson as key backups.

Given that MS Dhoni hardly utilised either of Shane Watson or Kedar Jadhav as a bowler in IPL, CSK might like to add Shardul Thakur in the mix to strengthen the bowling a bit. As they already have 3 spinners, Shardul Thakur, who has recently shown improvements over his variations could be added to the squad as an extra pacer.

However, this could see the batting line-up change a bit. To have a strong number 3 to complement Raina, Faf du Plessis could be asked to play at his position. That means, Ambati Rayudu might be asked to open. This way Rayudu, who performed exceptionally well as an opener in IPL 2018 could see a performance improvement.

Moreover, with MS Dhoni playing at 4, he could be CSK’s most important batsman in this line. He shall decide the tempo of the batting, and would play the role of sheet-anchor in the line-up. Dhoni would expect good support from Kedar, Bravo, and Jadeja, who would follow him in the batting order. 

IPL 2020 UAE: The Strongest Predicted 11 for CSK without Suresh Raina:

Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Piyush Chawla, and Imran Tahir. 

Option 2: Ruturaj Gaikwad as Opener

The other option, which looks a good possibility is the inclusion of Ruturaj Gaikwad as a replacement of Suresh Raina. We all know CSK are one team that is filled with experienced and aged players. Apart from Deepak Chahar, all their quality players are in the mid and late 30s.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, who has been in tremendous form in all Domestic competitions lately could bring the fresh energy in the squad. He could be a perfect ploy to open the batting alongside experienced Shane Watson. His attacking instincts could allow Shane Watson to settle in the initial few overs. There is also an option to bring Murali Vijay to open, but that looks slightly difficult. 

With Ruturaj opening, Faf du Plessis would once again play a vital role at number 3. The rest of the line-up should be similar to above with only Shardul Thakur missing out. That means, CSK would be playing 5 key bowlers, and Kedar Jadhav & Shane Watson as backup bowlers in case MSD decide to use anyone of them.

IPL 2020 UAE: The Strongest Predicted 11 for CSK without Suresh Raina:

Shane Watson, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, and Imran Tahir. 

So, that completes the strongest predicted playing 11 for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for the IPL 2020 UAE edition without Suresh Raina. We hope everything is well with Suresh Raina and his family. It is certainly a big dent to CSK, but expect MS Dhoni and CSK to fight this uncertainty with ease. 

Thanks for reading! What is your preferred playing 11 of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for IPL 2020 UAE without Suresh Raina? Please, let us know in the comments. 


ALSO READ: IPL 2020 Exclusive: Complete List of IPL Stats for matches in UAE


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