The defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will lock horns with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the season opener of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019, at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai.
Lungi Ngidi has been ruled out of the tournament due to the side strain he sustained during the fifth ODI between South Africa and Sri Lanka last week. Ngidi was one of the top performers in the previous season, having picked up 11 wickets. David Willey is likely to replace him.
Probable XI for CSK: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh/Karn Sharma, Deepak Chahar/ Shardul Thakur/Mohit Sharma, David Willey
Marcus Stoinis and Nathan Coulter-Nile won’t be available until the five-ODI series between Australia and Pakistan concludes.
Probable XI for RCB: Parthiv Patel, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Shimron Hetmyer, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Akshdeep Nath, Colin de Grandhomme/Tim Southee, Washington Sundar/Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal
We have opted for a fantasy cricket team on the basis of players’ impact, recent performances, and credit points.
My XI: Parthiv Patel (wk), Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo (vc), Akshdeep Nath, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harbhajan Singh, Deepak Chahar
Chepauk does not disappoint the crowd. Here, runs come in abundance. However, under the floodlights, the ball moves around a bit until it has its shine. That or anything will not affect the talismanic batters from both teams.
Defending champions bat deep
Dhoni is a different athlete when he dons the yellow jersey. They call him Thala in Chennai and is, without an iota of doubt, their most favourite. However, CSK is more than Dhoni. They have got Raina, the highest run-scorer in the history of the tournament.
Before he takes the crease, the foreign duo of Watson and du Plessis takes charge. And even if CSK lose their top three, they have got smart operators in Rayudu, Jadhav, and the captain himself. There was a reason they lifted the trophy last year.
CSK have got a plethora of all-rounders. Watson is known as the man with a golden arm. Jadhav’s low-arm action troubles even the best of batters. And then comes the duo of Bravo and Jadeja. Come to think of it, CSK’s top 8 batters can use the long handle to a devastating effect, that we will often see the ball soaring over the boundary line.
CSK have spinners in Harbhajan and Karn: both have different bowling approaches, helping their captain utilise them in different conditions. The India pace trio of Mohit, Chahar, and Thakur adds spice to the pace department that already comprises of the English pacer Willey.
RCB heavily rely on seniors
Since the inception of IPL, RCB have had a strong line-up. However, it remained so only on paper, that they have not won the title once.
“All over again for RCB, one more time, and forever,” said Kohli ahead of the first match. He revealed that he cannot imagine playing for any other franchise. No doubt over his commitment. He jumped to the second spot in the batting charts sporting the red jersey.
RCB’s problem this year, as has been the case in the past years, is that their batting revolves around Kohli and ABD. Parthiv will open and play the aggressor’s role, with Kohli at the other end. ABD’s batting expertise needs no introduction. The problem arises from No. 4. Hetmyer is capable of doing things most batters can’t, but it is his inability to play a patient innings that bothers any team he plays for. So is the case with Moeen, but he can make it up with his off-spinners.
The second problem, perhaps the biggest of all, is that they do not have a finisher. For now they have put the onus on the all-rounder Dube who is yet to make his debut.
RCB also do not have a bowler who can pull things back in death overs. Chahal and Sundar can spin a web in the middle-order, but can Umesh do what Bumrah does for India under pressure? Some questions only time can answer.