In a repeat of last year’s final, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) with their new captains — Ravindra Jadeja and Shreyas Iyer, will lock horns in the opening match of the IPL 2022 and look to start their campaign on a winning note at the Wankhede Stadium, here on Saturday.
Ahead of the start of the IPL 2022, the 40-year-old M.S Dhoni on Thursday decided to hand over the captaincy of CSK to Jadeja. The star all-rounder, who has been an integral part of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) since 2012, will only be the third player to lead the Chennai-based franchise after Dhoni and Suresh Raina.
Notably, it will be the first time that Dhoni will play as a pure wicket-keeper batter and won’t lead the side in an IPL match. The only time that the legendary cricketer has represented Super Kings strictly as a player was in 2012, in a dead-rubber Champions League T20 game against Yorkshire.
A decade later, CSK will be starting a new chapter under the leadership of Jadeja, who has been an integral part of the franchise since 2012, becoming only the third player to lead the Chennai-based franchise after Dhoni and Suresh Raina.
As a new skipper, star all-rounder’s first challenge is to fill the big voids created by the absence of first-choice players Deepak Chahar (injured) and Moeen Ali (unavailable due to visa issues). Moeen reached India late due to visa issues and he will only be available for CSK’s second game, against Lucknow Super Giants on March 31, after undergoing quarantine for three days.
In the absence of England all-rounder, New Zealand batter Devon Conway is set to make his IPL debut. But it will be interesting to see, whether CSK plays him as an opener or use him as a floater in the middle-order to counter Knight Riders’ mystery spinners
Conway is technically very sound against spin bowling. In all T20 cricket, Conway averages 61.63 and strikes at 134.65 against spin. Against pace, the average drops to 37.40 and strike rate to 126.15.
Rajvardhan Hangargekar is likely to play in the place of Deepak Chahar and the rest of the CSK side is mostly settled.
On the other hand, new KKR skipper Shreyas Iyer will also have to find the opening partner of Venkatesh Iyer. KKR bought Alex Hales during the IPL auction but the England cricketer pulled out of the IPL 2020 and his replacement Aaron Finch, who is not available for the early part of the tournament.
On the other hand, Kiwi pacer Tim Southee, who got married earlier this week and joined the IPL bubble late, will miss Saturday’s game. In his absence, Knight Riders could bring in Sri Lanka’s Chamika Karunaratne or pick an extra Indian seamer.
Though KKR reached the final last season, they had a horror start to that season. And, Iyer will love to continue that attack-first approach of KKR.
CSK (from): MS Dhoni (c), Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Robin Uthappa, Dwayne Bravo, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Tushar Deshpande, Shivam Dube, Maheesh Theekshana, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Simarjeet Singh, Devon Conway, Dwaine Pretorius, Mitchell Santner, Adam Milne, Subhranshu Senapati, Mukesh Choudhary, Prashant Solanki, C Hari Nishaanth, N Jagadeesan, Chris Jordan, K Bhagath Varma.
KKR (from): Andre Russell, Varun Chakravarthy, Venkatesh Iyer, Sunil Narine, Shreyas Iyer, Pat Cummins, Nitish Rana, Shivam Mavi, Sheldon Jackson, Ajinkya Rahane, Rinku Singh, Anukul Roy, Rasikh Dar, Chamika Karunaratne, Baba Indrajith, Ashok Sharma, Pratham Singh, Abhijeet Tomar, Sam Billings, Ramesh Kumar, Mohammed Nabi, Aman Khan, Umesh Yadav.