After missing out on the IPL trophy this year, Chennai Super Kings would be looking to make up for the disappointment when they take the field in the Champions League Twenty20, opening against Titans from South Africa on Sunday.
Playing for the second time in front of his home crowd, Dhoni would know the importance of starting well in this competitive tournament after they failed to make the semifinals of the last edition in South Africa due to defeats in their first two encounters.
Two-time IPL champions, the Super Kings, boast of a star-studded line up with the likes of India skipper Dhoni, Murali Vijay, Faf du Plessis and Michael Hussey around whom the CSK batting will revolve.
Another distinct feature about this Chennai unit is the all-rounders present in their ranks. Players like Ravindra Jadeja, Albie Morkel, Dwayne Bravo and Suresh Raina are equally capable with both bat and ball and possess ability to turn the tide in favour of the team at any given time.
They also give their skipper a variety of options while bowling apart from saving runs through their fielding.
Besides, plethora of all-rounders, the team’s bowling attack will be led by Chris Morris, R Ashwin and the recently capped India international Mohit Sharma who would be keen to make a mark in the tournament. On the other hand, the Titans, who are up against their team-mates Albie and Du Plessis, would be well aware of their task in hands while playing one of the most successful franchise in T20 cricket.
The South African side will be buoyed by the presence of pacer Morne Morkel and AB de Villiers, and would bank on their valuable experience of the subcontinent to go the distance in this cash-rich league. The Titans are capable enough of overcoming any side in the tournament as they showed during their debut appearance, when they narrowly lost in the semifinals to eventual champions Sydney Sixers.
De Villiers’s capability to bat anywhere in the batting order will be a great asset for the side besides attacking capabilities captain Henry Davids. The team also have experienced campaigners like Roelof van der Merwe, Jacques Rudolph and Ethy Mbhalati.
Meanwhile, coach Stephen Fleming wants the team to leave an ever-lasting impression on the Championship League T20 before most of the players go under the hammer for fresh auctions. “The team has prepared well and is motivated to perform well,” Fleming said.