Date: March 26, 2022
Time: 7:30 PM (IST)
Venue: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Ball-by-ball commentary: SportsTiger App
The Indian Premier League (IPL) is upon us. There are so many reasons to look forward to the great Indian summer but the one that tops the long list is the T20 cricketing festival that will begin this year with a repeat of the last year’s final. Chennai Super Kings will take on Kolkata Knight Riders at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai in match number 1 of this brand new season.
While it was Chennai who had the last laugh in IPL 2021, beating Kolkata in the summit clash to lift their title number four, this is a new-look KKR unit with a different captain at the helm. CSK though have yet again managed to retain pretty much the same core and all eyes will for a change be on Ravindra Jadeja and how he manages to take over the captaincy baton from the legendary MS Dhoni who has time and again struck gold with his trusted men.
This is set to be the first game of the season at the Wankhede. Traditionally, this has been a high-scoring surface with the team winning the toss looking to field first since no total is beyond reach at this venue, especially with the dew expected to play a role. However, with the stadium overlooking the Arabian Sea and the red soil used to make the pitch here, there will be movement in the air and bounce off the surface that could be extracted by the bowlers.
Chennai Super Kings:
Even the smallest action that the Chennai Super Kings tend to do is come into the headlines. This year too there was a lot of spotlight on them. The biggest news though was the fact that they did not bid for Suresh Raina who had served them well for so many years. However, they have managed to retain MS Dhoni, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen Ali and then bought back Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu, Dwayne Bravo. While they pretty much have the same side, Devon Conway could be the batter who could replace Faf du Plessis at the top of the order, if the overseas combination they go ahead with allows them to do so.
They do have a few issues to sort out before their first match. While Moeen Ali might miss the opening game due to Visa issues, Chahar is also set to miss a few matches due to an injury. In addition, Dhoni hasn’t been the batter that he was in the past two years and so a lot will rely on the top order batters Gaikwad and Conway along with Uthappa and Rayudu, especially in the absence of Moeen.
The biggest miss will be that of Chahar, who was also expected to play a role with the bat, and Chennai would hope that he comes back sooner than otherwise.
Kolkata Knight Riders:
Much unlike their opponents in the first game, Kolkata Knight Riders have looked to build a team for the future. Hence, they have elected Shreyas Iyer as their captain and decided to part ways with ex-captain Eoin Morgan as well as veteran wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik.
The biggest positive for them is that Shreyas is coming off a dream run and would look to continue the same form in the IPL. The big issues that Kolkata will have at the back of their minds would be the fitness concerns of their retained players Varun Chakravarthy and Andre Russell. When fit, the two are proven match-winners. However, there are a lot of ifs and buts with their fitness status that could be a slight reason of worry for them.
Their other retention Sunil Narine too may not be a long-term choice anymore and his effectiveness on Indian pitches will be a thing to look forward to. The key figure to Kolkata’s turnaround last season was Venkatesh Iyer and he would look to do the job yet again for the side, especially with an eye on the T20 World Cup squad and having fast-tracked his selection into the Indian side on the back of an impressive IPL.
With Pat Cummins expected to join the team late, Tim Southee could be roped in the Playing XI. However, Umesh Yadav might also have a role to play and with his economy on the higher side, the team would ideally want the experienced pacer to get back into his rhythm and take the role of bowling in the powerplay to allow the likes of Shivam Mavi and Andre Russell with the bowl at the end along with the options of the mystery spinners.
An interesting battle is on the cards then.
SportsTiger’s Probable Playing XI for Match 1
Sam Billings, Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Andre Russell, Chris Jordan, Varun Chakravarthy, Adam Milne
Chennai Super Kings have enjoyed a superior overall record against Kolkata Knight Riders. In 25 IPL matches, CSK have won 17 matches while KKR have clinched 8 games only. Last year too, CSK won all the three matches and with little to separate between the two teams at the beginning of the season, with both teams looking to finalise a combination, that could play a factor in this fixture. So CSK should win this game.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the author’s personal point of view. They neither reflect the opinion of SportsTiger nor advise anyone to make any prediction based on this. SportsTiger does not assume any responsibility and liability for the same.