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Can Team Chennai clinch their fifth Indian T20 League title?

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Defending champions Team Chennai will look to continue their dominant run in the upcoming edition of the Indian T20 League starting March 26.

Under MS Dhoni, Chennai grew into of the most successful Indian T20 League franchises, featuring in nine finals - the most by any franchise in the tournament’s history and winning four titles, one less than Team Mumbai who have claimed five titles so far.

Ahead of the 15th edition of the Indian T20 League, Chennai have a new captain in Ravindra Jadeja and have managed to assemble a major part of their core squad that was successful in helping the side clinch their fourth Indian T20 League title in UAE last year.

The team will eye back-to-back titles this season and here we analyze what they have in the offering for the 2022 season.

Team Chennai squad

Before the Indian T20 League 2022 mega auction, Chennai retained their now-former captain MS Dhoni (INR 12 crore), all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja (INR 16 crore), Moeen Ali (INR 8 crore) and opening batter Ruturaj Gaikwad (INR 6 crore) for the next three editions of the tournament.

 

After retaining these four players, Chennai had INR 48 crore left in their purse for the mega auction.

In the two-day mega auction held in Bengaluru, they brought back Deepak Chahar (14 crore), Ambati Rayudu (6.75 crore), Dwayne Bravo (4.4 crore) and Robin Uthappa (INR 2 crore), all of whom played important roles in winning the title last season.

Chennai also roped in England all-rounder Chris Jordan (INR 3.6 crore), New Zealand pacer Adam Milne (INR 1.9 crore), Kiwi spinner Mitch Santner (INR 1.9 crore), New Zealand batter Devon Conway (INR 1 crore) and South Africa fast bowler Dwaine Pretorius (50 Lakh) to their squad. 

As far as domestic cricketers are concerned, the four-time champions bought the likes of Tushar Deshpande, Simarjeet Singh, C Hari Nishaanth, N Jagadeesan, Mukesh Choudhary, Subhranshu Senapati, Prashant Solanki and K Bhagath Varma

Team Chennai squad for Indian T20 League 2022: MS Dhoni (captain/wicket-keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ambati Rayadu, Dwayne Bravo, Robin Uthappa, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Shivam Dube, Maheesh Theekshana, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Simarjeet Singh, Devon Conway, Dwaine Pretorius, Mitch Santner, Adam Milne, Subhranshu Senapati, Prashant Solanki, Mukesh Choudhary, C Hari Nishaanth, N Jagadeesan, Chris Jordan, Bhagath Varma

Team Chennai strengths and weaknesses

Strengths

Team Chennai have been heavily dependent on their core players over the years and it has been a massive strength for the franchise. The success mantra of the franchise has been believing in giving its players a longer run to showcase their talent and prove their worth. Indian players such as Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar and Ruturaj Gaikwad went on to play for India after having success with Team Chennai.

Chennai have always believed in having more experienced players than youngsters in their side. The likes of MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Robin Uthappa and Ambati Rayudu will once again play a major role in the upcoming edition of the Indian T20 League.

The presence of MS Dhoni will always be considered as one of Chennai’s biggest strengths since they have won four titles under him. With the Indian T20 League being held in India, Dhoni’s unmatched use of spinners on Indian pitches should make the team a tough opposition to face for any side in the high-profile league.

Weaknesses

Chennai struggled with their death bowling in the previous edition of the tournament, leaking too many runs in the last few overs which can change the complexion of a game. The franchise has roped in Chris Jordan and Tushar Deshpande to fix the issue in the new season. 

 

Furthermore, the batting form of MS Dhoni was a concern in the last edition, with the former India captain retiring from all forms of international cricket in 2020 and not playing any competitive cricket since the previous edition of the Indian T20 league in UAE. They will be hoping the Indian legend can roll back the years and provide more returns with the willow in the upcoming season.

Who can be the highest run-scorer for Team Chennai?

Chennai opener Ruturaj Gaikwad was in staggering form in the Indian T20 League 2021, winning the Orange Cap. The 25-year-old amassed 635 runs in 16 matches at a strike rate of 136.26 while also maintaining an average of 45.35. He hit one century and four fifties in the tournament. Ravindra Jadeja and Co. will once again bank on Gaikwad at the top of the order to provide the batting unit with a good foundation to build upon.

Who can be the highest wicket-taker for Team Chennai?

West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo had a decent Indian T20 League campaign last season. The Chennai pacer bagged 14 wickets in 11 matches at an economy of 7.81. Bravo is currently the joint-highest wicket-taker in Indian T20 League history, picking 167 wickets in 151 matches at a strike rate of 17.44. Bravo is once again expected to make use of his slow deliveries on Indian pitches and is expected to be the highest wicket-taker for Team Chennai this season.

Where will Team Chennai finish in Indian T20 League 2022?

Considering the past record of the franchise, Ravindra Jadeja-led Chennai are expected to qualify for the playoffs in the Indian T20 League 2022. If their star players find early form, they can also lift their fifth title this time around

Chennai Indian T20 League 2022 schedule, fixtures and match times

All times are in India Standard Time (IST)

Day and Date  Match Venue Time
Saturday, March 26 Chennai vs Kolkata  Wankhede Stadium 7:30 PM
Thursday, March 31 Lucknow vs Chennai Brabourne Stadium 7:30 PM
Sunday, April 3 Chennai vs Punjab Brabourne Stadium 7:30 PM
Saturday, April 9 Chennai vs Hyderabad DY Patil Stadium 3:30 PM
Tuesday, April 12 Chennai vs Bangalore DY Patil Stadium 7:30 PM
Sunday, April 17 Gujarat vs Chennai MCA Stadium 7:30 PM
Thursday, April 21 Mumbai vs Chennai DY Patil Stadium 7:30 PM
Monday, April 25 Punjab vs Chennai Wankhede Stadium 7:30 PM
Sunday, May 1 Hyderabad vs Chennai MCA Stadium 7:30 PM
Wednesday, May 4 Bangalore vs Chennai MCA Stadium 7:30 PM
Sunday, May 8 Chennai vs Delhi DY Patil Stadium 7:30 PM
Thursday, May 12 Chennai vs Mumbai Wankhede Stadium 7:30 PM
Sunday, May 15 Gujarat vs Chennai Wankhede Stadium 3:30 PM
Friday, May 20 Rajasthan vs Chennai  Brabourne Stadium 7:30 PM

Feature photo: Indranil MUKHERJEE /Sajjad HUSSAIN /NOAH SEELAM / AFP

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