Shifting focus to the second match, the game will see the battle of wicketkeeper-batsmen. CSK will be led by MS Dhoni, whose IPL career is on its last legs. As for DC captain Rishabh Pant, he has a bright career in front of him. His international success has led to him being named leader in Shreyas Iyer’s absence due to injury
While Delhi Capitals finished runners-up last year, going down to Mumbai Indians in the final, CSK ended a disappointing seventh. It was first time they failed to qualify for the playoffs (excluding the two years when they were banned).
DC have a few things to ponder upon going into their first match. While Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw look set to open the innings, there will be a toss up between Steve Smith and Ajinkya Rahane for the No. 3 slot. Delhi coach Ricky Ponting has confirmed that if Smith plays, he will bat in the top three
Skipper Pant, Marcus Stoinis and Shimron Hetmyer will be the big-hitters in the team. With Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada unavailable for the opening game, Ishant Sharma, Chris Woakes, Tom Curran and Umesh Yadav should come into contention. The experienced duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra should take care of the spin department.
As for CSK, with Shane Watson having retired, they have roped in Robin Uthappa via the trade window. He could open the innings with Faf du Plessis. Of course, there is talented England all-rounder Sam Curran, who also batted at the top last season.
The addition of another batting all-rounder Moeen Ali should strengthen the line up, which has veterans like Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu and captain Dhoni. The IPL will also mark the return of Ravindra Jadeja, who will be keen to make an impression.
Buoyed by his international success, Shardul Thakur could be a more confident bowler this season. He and Deepak Chahar should form a potent pace bowling combo. Whether CSK have enough arsenal to trouble DC remains to be seen.
Chennai Super Kings: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf Du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C/WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, DJ Bravo, Shardul Thakur, and Deepak Chahar.
Delhi Capitals: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Steve Smith, Rishabh Pant (C/WK), Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Woakes, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, and Umesh Yadav.
--Renin Wilben Albert