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CSK vs DC, IPL 2020

Dwayne Bravo, the Chennai Super Kings’ designated death bowler and highest wicket-taker in T20 cricket, is injured again and will miss a “few days or a couple of weeks,” according to their head coach Stephen Fleming.

Fleming revealed that Bravo had sustained a groin injury, which was serious enough to keep him off the field, and hence he couldn’t bowl the final over against the Delhi Capitals in Sharjah. In the injury-enforced absence of Bravo, Dhoni tasked Ravindra Jadeja with the responsibility of defending 16 off the last over, but centurion Shikhar Dhawan and Axar Patel sealed the chase with a ball to spare, handing the Super Kings their sixth defeat in nine games.

“He seems to have a right groin injury, I think, and it was obviously serious enough to keep him off the field,” Fleming said at the post-match press conference. “He’s obviously desperately disappointed that he couldn’t bowl the last over – that’s what he’s pretty much in the team for. He will have to be reassessed going forward, but at this stage you’d imagine it’s going to take a few days or a couple of weeks, but we will assess that tomorrow.”

Bravo had turned up for the IPL in the UAE with a different injury – a knee problem suffered during the CPL – and missed the Super Kings’ first three games. He didn’t bowl in the CPL final because of that injury and instead played as a specialist batsman for the Trinbago Knight Riders. During their first three games, the Super Kings used fast bowlers Lungi Ngidi and Josh Hazlewood, but then Bravo returned to the XI against the Sunrisers Hyderabad and has since been part of the side.

Bravo impressed with his yorkers and slower variations in the Super Kings’ return fixture against the Sunrisers and the Kolkata Knight Riders, providing more depth to both the bowling attack and the batting line-up. In six matches so far in IPL 2020, Bravo has bowled 14 yorkers, according to ESPNcricinfo’s ball-by-ball data. Only Mumbai Indians’ Jasprit Bumrah (19) and Sunrisers’ T Natarajan (40) have bowled more yorkers than Bravo in the tournament.

Bravo’s injury depletes a Super Kings squad that is already without two other first-choice players in Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh, who had both opted out of the tournament for personal reasons. However, Bravo’s absence could open up a spot for Imran Tahir, who was the highest wicket-taker in IPL 2019, with 26 strikes at an economy rate of 6.69. Tahir was also the Guyana Amazon Warriors’ highest wicket-taker in the CPL and third overall, with 15 scalps at an economy rate of 5.82 from 10 games.

New Zealand spin-bowling allrounder Mitchell Santner is the other overseas option for the Super Kings. Tahir and Santner are the only overseas players to have not played for the Super Kings this season. With the UAE tracks tiring in the second half of the IPL, the Super Kings will look to one of these two spinners to fill the Bravo-sized hole.

The Super Kings’ next match is against the Rajasthan Royals in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

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