Chennai Super Kings

IPL 2021: Strongest Predicted Playing XI for Chennai Super Kings (CSK)

Experienced core, the focus as we look at the predicted playing 11 of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for IPL 2021.

The team that experienced their worst campaign ever in the history of IPL in IPL 2020 seems to have once again got their mojo back. With Suresh Raina back in the house, and a successful IPL 2021 Auction, CSK have managed to register one of the strongest squads on paper.   

The reason CSK have been such a consistent side in IPL is because of their ability to back players. They didn’t release a lot of players back in the Auction pool like RCB or KXIP. The only ones they let go of were either too costly like Jadhav or Chawla, or underutilized players. They would have retained Watson, but unfortunately, he retired from all forms of cricket. 

Analyzing CSK’s performance in the auction, they got two solid players in the form of Moeen Ali and Krishnappa Gowtham. Both suit CSK’s strengths and bring a lot of value to the table. Apart from these two, CSK bought middle-order batsman, Cheteshwar Pujara, all-rounder Bhagath Varma, opener CH Nishaanth, and pacer Harishankar Reddy.

MS Dhoni’s strength of having as many all-rounders in the team as possible is once again going to give them plenty of options to strike a perfect playing 11 suitable for all conditions. So, in this article, we take a look at the strongest predicted playing 11 for CSK for IPL 2021. Before that, let’s quickly look at CSK’s squad for IPL 2021. 

CSK’s Squad for IPL 2021: 

Batsmen: Ambati Rayudu, Cheteshwar Pujara, CH Nishaanth, Faf du Plessis, MS Dhoni (C&WK), N Jagadeesan (WK), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Robin Uthappa (WK) & Suresh Raina.

All-rounders: Dwayne Bravo, Bhagat Varma, K Gowtham, Mitchell Santner, Moeen Ali, Ravindra Jadeja & Sam Curran

Bowlers: Deepak Chahar, Harishankar Reddy, Imran Tahir, Josh Hazlewood, Karn Sharma, KM Asif, Lungi Ngidi, R Sai Kishore & Shardul Thakur

The Solid Core 

The Chennai Super Kings have been one of the only few teams to have a strong core of 7-8 players. These are the players who CSK would definitely play in their playing XI, and strategies and combinations would be surrounded beside these players. 

Looking at the team, we are for sure to have Faf du Plessis and Suresh Raina in the top-order. MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu will play in the middle-order for sure. While Ravindra Jadeja is a confirmed starter, the performance of young Sam Curran in IPL 2021 should definitely give him an edge over Dwayne Bravo.

Coming to the bowlers, Shardul Thakur has been very impressive in the limited-overs format for Team India last year. He was also quite good compared to under-performing Deepak Chahar in IPL 2020. While both should play in the XI, Shardul might just be preferred over Chahar if only one had to be selected. 

So, the core of CSK includes Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran & Shardul Thakur. 

Strongest Predicted Playing XI for CSK:

Coming to the strongest predicted playing XI for CSK for IPL 2021, we need to consider the best available players that add a lot of value around the 7 core players. There are so many good players in CSK’s side that accommodating everyone would be difficult. Hence, past performance and team combination is given preference while selecting the strongest 11.

While Faf is confirmed to open, CSK have to make a choice between Ruturaj Gaikwad and Robin Uthappa for the second opener slot. Ruturaj has performed well for CSK in the limited opportunities he got in IPL 2020. Whereas Uthappa had a see-saw battle when it comes to performance. Hence, as the second opener, Ruturaj should play ahead of Uthappa; at least for the initial few matches.

The second toss-up would be for the third overseas player. Dwayne Bravo has been the backbone of CSK over the years, but his recent performance hasn’t been impressive. Moeen Ali, who was acquired by for 7 crores can be a good aggressive option to play in the middle-order. Moreover, CSK needed an offspinner, and Ali is a really good option for that. 

Coming to the fourth overseas player, Imran Tahir should find more game time in IPL 2021 unlike IPL 2020. While he brings a lot of value to the table, he can be replaced by Bravo, Lungi Ngidi or Hazlewood, if the pitch is more conducive to pace. Initially, at least, Tahir has to be given a go in the playing XI to strengthen the overall bowling attack.    

Strongest Predicted 11 for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for IPL 2021:

Faf du Plessis, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Moeen Ali, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, & Imran Tahir. 

Will MS Dhoni lead CSk to their 4th title in IPL 2021? Image Source: BCCI
Will MS Dhoni lead CSK to their 4th title in IPL 2021? Image Source: BCCI

Option 1: Krishnappa Gowtham for Moeen Ali

Krishnappa Gowtham and Moeen Ali bring a very similar skill-set to the table. Both are attacking batsmen, and their off-spin can be utilized in the power-play and in middle-overs. In that case, CSK can play Dwayne Bravo in the side, and Deepak Chahar can be rested. With this combination, CSK have batting depth till 9 and bowling depth of 3 spinners and 3 pacers.  

Faf du Plessis, Uthappa / Gaikwad, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C&WK), K Gowtham, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur & Imran Tahir.

Option 2: Ambati Rayudu as the Opener 

Ambati Rayudu, who is expected to play in the middle-order can also be asked to open the batting alongside Faf du Plessis. This way, CSK can rest the inexperienced Ruturaj Gaikwad, and instead strengthen the lower-order and bowling attack by adding Gowtham. Dhoni is very much fond of having as many bowlers as possible in the squad. This option definitely helps that. 

Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (C&WK), K Gowtham, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar / R Sai Kishore & Imran Tahir.

Option 3: Moeen Ali as the Opener

If Moeen Ali is played as an attacking opener, Faf can then look to build the innings. He can look to play as long as possible to give CSK better stability in the batting order. While that would lead to the expulsion of inexperienced Ruturaj Gaikwad, CSK can instead strengthen their lower-order. 

Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar/ R Sai Kishore & Imran Tahir. 

So, that completes the strongest predicted playing 11 for CSK for IPL 2020 using different combinations. The team also has good backups like Cheteshwar Pujara, N Jagadeesan, CH Nishaanth, Mitchell Santner, Bhagat Varma, Karn Sharma, KM Asif & Harishankar Reddy, who can be utilized as and when needed in the tournament.

Overall, the CSK of 2021 look really strong as compared to CSK of IPL 2020. The odds are also not bad for CSK as seen in the analysis in online cricket betting. What is your analysis of CSK’s chances for IPL 2021?

Finally, Thanks for reading! What’s your predicted playing 11 for CSK for IPL 2021? Please email all your thoughts to

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