For Chennai Super Kings there is no better time than this to redeem its image. Having lost the IPL-VI final to Mumbai Indians at the Eden Gardens last May, CSK now gets another chance, perhaps the last one, to prove its versatility in this format as it begins its campaign against Titans from South Africa in the Karbonn Smart Champions League Twenty20 at the JSCA Stadium here on Sunday.
Arguably the best Indian club in the T20 format, going by its achievements in six editions of the IPL in which it won the title twice and reached the final thrice, the team can always hope to repeat its CLT20 victory in 2010.
CSK has retained its core players and added a few over the years to make the team an effective unit. With all the players going into the auction pool next year, this will be the team’s final chance to create history by winning this tournament for the second time.
“We’ve had some great success over six years, and to finish the six-year period with a good competition here is very important to the group,” said coach Stephen Fleming.
Skipper M.S. Dhoni’s presence will ensure that CSK is the most supported team at this centre. With players like Michael Hussey, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, S. Badrinath, R. Ashwin and the South African duo of Albie Morkel and Faf du Plessis in its ranks, CSK makes a formidable team.
Titans qualified as the second team from its country and will be playing its second consecutive CLT20. It reached the semifinals last year.
The team, captained by Jacques Rudolph, has some proven players in A.B. de Villiers, Morne Morkel and Roelof van der Merwe.
Brisbane Heat, the champion side of Australia’s Big Bash League, is considerably weak owing to non-availability of its key players like Shane Watson (Rajasthan Royals), Luke Pomersbach and Mitchell Johnson (Mumbai Indians).
Yet, the team is expected to display the typical Aussie grit in its debut year.
Trinidad & Tobago of the West Indies, making its fourth attempt to win the title, arrives here with the fourth Caribbean T20 circuit title under its belt. The inaugural year runner-up has some exciting talent in Sunil Narine, pace spearhead Ravi Rampaul, Darren Bravo and Samuel Badree.
The team captained by Denesh Ramdin can prove to be a tough one if it plays to potential.
Completing the line-up is Sunrisers Hyderabad, which joined this group as No. 2 from the four-team qualifiers held at Mohali. Skippered by Shikhar Dhawan, Sunrisers did well to make it to the main round.
Rain may play a major role in the proceedings here. On the opening day, Brisbane Heat will clash with Trinidad & Tobago in the first match, while CSK will take on Titans in the second.