Mumbai Indians

IPL 2020: Chennai Super Kings - Top-four contenders despite missing Suresh Raina

(PTI)Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s return to competitive cricket would be the more keenly-watched sub-plot of the Chennai Super Kings’ IPL campaign, which hit a rough patch quite early thanks to a couple of major pullouts and COVID-19 cases in the contingent.

The playoff regulars will open the tournament with what is expected to be an intense clash against defending champions Mumbai Indians on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.

In the run-up to this showdown, the side has battled 13 COVID-19 cases, including two players, and pullouts by the senior duo of Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh due to personal reasons.

But as Virender Sehwag aptly put it, the focus is likely to be exclusively on Dhoni’s return to the field exactly 34 days after he called time on his international career.

In case Chahar is not fully match fit, his like for like replacement would be Shardul Thakur just like Imran Tahir for Chawla and Josh Hazlewood (once available) for Ngidi.

Squad: MS Dhoni (captain, wk), M Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner, Josh Hazlewood, Shardul Thakur, Sam Curran, N Jagadeesan, KM Asif, Monu Kumar, R Sai Kishore, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Karn Sharma.

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