|Player:||M Vijay, SK Raina, S Tyagi, NLTC Perera, PA Patel, JDP Oram, M Muralitharan, M Ntini, JA Morkel, JM Kemp, ML Hayden, MS Gony, C Ganapathy, MS Dhoni, L Balaji, S Badrinath|
|Event:||Indian Premier League 2009/10|
The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Superkings very nearly got their hands on the glittering IPL trophy in 2008 before a Warne-inspired Rajasthan Royals tipped them in the race. In the second season Dhoni's side did well to reach the semis but met a Kumble-inspired Bangalore Royal Challengers as thy went down by six wickets.
In both seasons of the IPL, Chennai won 8 of the 14 matches in the preliminary stages. The team finished second in the previous year's edition while they ended up in the third place on the points table during 2008. The men from Chennai in the 2010 edition will be looking to correct the failings that they encountered in the first two editions but the path to the championship is no smooth.
For starters it is very much evident that the Superkings would bank on their batsmen to take them to victory. The batting revolves around the muscular Hayden and it will be interesting as to who will open with the southpaw from Queensland. Parthiv Patel was assigned the opener's role on more than one occasion and he had a mixed time at the top of the order. The talented Murali Vijay is another option but his travails against top-notch pacemen was exposed ruthlessly by the South African pacemen in the recently concluded Test series.
The middle-order bears a fairly settled look. Suresh Raina is a pocket dynamo and once he gets going the opposition bowlers can run out of ideas. MS Dhoni is in very good nick as evident from his last few matches and his form is bound to give some real headaches to the opposition bowlers. S Badrinath's presence lends solidity in the middle and that helps the other strokemakers around him to use the long handle.
Chennai's Achilles' heal is their bowling department. With injuries to Andrew Flintoff and Jacob Oram, skipper MS Dhoni is bound to have some serious issues to contend with. Makhaya Ntini and Muttiah Muralitharan are not what they used to be in their prime but their class cannot be disregarded. Albie Morkel was hit some lusty blows an his lively bowling is an added bonus to the side. The Indian pace bowlers in the side barring Sudeep Tyagi fall in the medium fast category. L Balaji, Gony and Ganapathy will have to adopt a line and hit a length on the pitch that would restrict the opposition batsmen.
Chennai team-management had bid for Kieron Pollard, Shane Bond and Kemar Roach, and also tried for Eoin Morgan, but lost all of them to other franchises. They ultimately settled for South African all-rounder and ICL returnee Justin Kemp and Sri Lankan all-rounder Thissaara Perera.