IPL 2023: MS Dhoni set to lead Chennai Super Kings for 200th time
Chennai (Tamil Nadu), April 12: Legendary India wicketkeeper-batter MS Dhoni will lead Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for the 200th time in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, when he takes the field against Rajasthan Royals (RR) at the home arena of MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday.
The most consistent skipper in the IPL history, MS Dhoni has led Chennai Super Kings to four IPL titles (2010, 2011, 2018 and 2021 editions). Though Mumbai Indians (MI) have won five IPL trophies, MS-led CSK enjoys the advantage of consistency.
Dhoni has led CSK to the final four stage of the tournament in 11 out of 13 editions of the league, with the side finishing as runners-up on five occasions. Dhoni has captained on 213 occasions in the IPL 2023, out of which he has won 125 matches, lost 87 and one match failed to produce a result.
His win percentage of 58.96 makes him one of the most successful IPL captains in long term. Dhoni also has had a one-season stint as skipper with Rising Pune Supergiant, a side that existed temporarily in the IPL from 2016 to 2017. He could win only five matches and lost nine out of 14 during the 2016 season with the franchise, finishing seventh on the points table.
He has led CSK in 199 matches out of 213 so far, having won 120, lost 78, and one failed to produce a result. His win percentage with CSK as skipper is 60.30 per cent.
MS Dhoni is also a highly-accomplished batter in the Indian Premier League, having scored 5,004 runs in league history at an average of 39.09 and a strike rate of over 135. He has scored 24 half-centuries in his IPL career, with a best of 84*.
This occasion will be no doubt special for MS Dhoni, who is most likely playing his last IPL season, currently at 41 years of age. His side has enough star power to make this occasion a memorable one for the Indian legend with their performances.
With Ruturaj Gaikwad in top form with 189 runs in three matches, he can count on support from ever-consistent Devon Conway, his opening partner with whom he has stitched many memorable stands. Ajinkya Rahane, who smashed a 19-ball fifty in the last match against Mumbai Indians and an experienced Ambati Rayadu, could also be a source of support and stability for the side.
The true strength of the side lies in its pool of all-rounders, capable of anchoring, power-hitting, and taking crucial wickets. Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwaine Pretorius, Mitchell Santner, Shivam Dube and Rajvardhan Hangargekar provide an excellent support system and variety to CSK with their all-round abilities. Stokes' availability though, due to his knee issues, is under question.
These all-rounders also provide a lot of help to CSK's bowling, which also consists of the likes of medium-pacers Tushar Deshpande, Sisanda Magala. The absence of pacer Deepak Chahar will affect CSK a lot. However, the return of spinner Maheesh Theekshana is a booster for four-time champions.
Sitting at the fifth spot with two wins and a loss with four points, CSK has a long way to go in the competition. But their immediate focus must be Rajasthan Royals, which have looked like a team to beat this season and is in the second spot with the same statistics as CSK in the win-loss department.
The form of openers Jos Buttler (152 runs in three matches) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (125 runs in three matches) is too difficult for CSK to ignore. Both can send the ball into the skies right from the start. An in-form skipper Sanju Samson (97 runs in three matches) and promising wicketkeeper-batter Dhruv Jurel, anchor Devdutt Paddikal, and attacking batters Riyan Parag and Shimron Hetmyer add a lot to RR's batting. Hetmyer's finishing abilities are key to RR posting or chasing down big runs. He has scored 97 runs in three matches at an average of 97 and a strike rate of over 176.36.
RR's bowling is just as lethal as its batting. Trent Boult's pace can create chaos in powerplays. He is absolutely unplayable at that stage of the game. Yuzvendra Chahal's spin has taken a majority of RR's wickets so far as he sits at the second position in the race for 'Purple Cap' with eight wickets. When required, the experience of Jason Holder and Ravichandran Ashwin can also come really handy.
Whatever the result may be, fans are promised an exciting game of cricket today.
Chennai Super Kings Squad: Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ajinkya Rahane, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni(w/c), Dwaine Pretorius, Deepak Chahar, Mitchell Santner, Sisanda Magala, Tushar Deshpande, Ambati Rayudu, Akash Singh, Subhranshu Senapati, Shaik Rasheed, RS Hangargekar, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Ajay Jadav Mandal, Prashant Solanki, Simarjeet Singh, Matheesha Pathirana, Maheesh Theekshana, Bhagath Varma, Nishant Sindhu
Rajasthan Royals Squad: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson(w/c), Riyan Parag, Shimron Hetmyer, Dhruv Jurel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jason Holder, Trent Boult, Sandeep Sharma, Yuzvendra Chahal, Murugan Ashwin, Navdeep Saini, Akash Vasisht, KM Asif, Donavon Ferreira, Joe Root, Adam Zampa, KC Cariappa, Obed McCoy, Devdutt Padikkal, Kuldip Yadav, Kuldeep Sen, Abdul Basith, Kunal Singh Rathore.