IPL 2019: Defending champions CSK bank on formidable spin threat in play-off battle

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Imran Tahir has been in sensational form. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Ahead of the all-important 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) play-off clashes, we look at how Chennai Super Kings are shaping up.

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS

League position – 2

Matches – 14

Wins – 9

Losses – 5

STRENGTH

Experience and loads of it. Chennai’s squad is brimming with veteran campaigners who have done it all before on the big stage and continue to defy their ages in T20 cricket.

The 2019 campaign has proved to be no different with veterans such as Imran Tahir and Harbhajan Singh leading the line.

Their spin threat has been their calling card in the 2019 campaign with Tahir, Harbhajan and Ravindra Jadeja snaring 47 wickets between them.

WEAKNESS

It is with the bat that Chennai have struggled this season, with openers Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu failing to hit the heights of their 2018 showings. Skipper MS Dhoni is the glue which has held the batting department together with an average of over 122 but the rest of the unit has failed to fire on a consistent basis.

Both Watson and Rayudu are averaging less than 20 with the bat this season and that has increased the pressure on the rest of the batsmen. However, Faf du Plessis came out of his shell with 96 against Kings XI.

CSK's Shane Watson. Image - @IPL/Twitter.

CSK’s Shane Watson. Image – @IPL/Twitter.

OPPORTUNITY

The defending champions will have the luxury of playing their Qualifier 1 battle on home soil at the Chepauk stadium. They will be the only team to have a home advantage in the play-offs and that could prove to be crucial given that the team has won all but one of the seven matches played at the venue this year.

Plus, featuring in Qualifier 1 gives CSK two shots at making the cut for the final – always a good thing.

THREAT

While they do enjoy the home advantage, the fact that Chennai play host to Mumbai Indians is discomforting. Rohit Sharma and his men are the only team to beat CSK at the Chepauk in the current campaign and have enjoyed considerable success at the venue over the years. In seven clashes between the two sides at the venue, Mumbai have emerged on the winning side on five occasions.

Chennai will also have to make do without the services of batsman Kedar Jadhav, who picked up a shoulder injury in the loss to KXIP and will play no further part in the remainder of the tournament.

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