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Dhoni versus Kohli as IPL T20 season begins with clash of two Indian legends

Dhoni versus Kohli as IPL T20 season begins with clash of two Indian legends

CHENNAI, India — The Indian Premier League’s season begins in Chennai on Friday when defending champions Chennai Super Kings take on fan favorites Royal Challengers Bengaluru.

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It will be a star-studded opening fixture of the ten-team tournament with MS Dhoni leading Chennai against and Virat Kohli and Bengaluru.

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Kohli returns to action after missing international cricket for nearly two months. He had skipped India’s five-test encounter against England owing to the birth of his second child.

All eyes, though, will be on Dhoni who returns to action after 10 months. After leading Chennai to its record-equaling fifth IPL title last year, he had announced his intention to retire at the end of this upcoming season.

“He is the greatest-ever captain, and I am very lucky that I have spent some time with him over the years,” Bengaluru skipper Faf du Plessis told host broadcaster Star Sports. “That’s probably the biggest thing in my career, my years at Chennai. It shaped me from a leadership perspective, just observing MS. As a young leader, it was special to my growth.”

Three-time runner-up Bengaluru have never won the IPL title — an oddity for their record-breaking star batter Kohli. Their women’s team only recently ended the franchise’s trophy drought, winning the 2024 Women’s IPL trophy on Sunday.

Meanwhile, India’s current captain across formats Rohit Sharma has made way for a new skipper at Mumbai Indians. All-rounder Hardik Pandya was brought in through a high-profile player trade with Gujarat Titans in November 2023.

Pandya, who played for five-time champions Mumbai from 2015 to 2021, had signed with Gujarat ahead of IPL 2022. He captained the new franchise to a maiden title that season and they finished runner-up to Chennai in 2023.

Mumbai had won all their five titles under Sharma, the last of which came in 2020. A barren three-year run at the richest IPL franchise prompted a first regime change after 11 years, which has sparked massive backlash among the Mumbai fan base ahead of the new season.

“This team has achieved all its glory under him , so it won’t be any different because he will always be there to help me out if I need his help,” Pandya said at the pre-season Mumbai conference. “From now on, it will just be me carrying forward what he has started. I know he will have his hand on my shoulder all through the season.”

Shubman Gill will take over as captain at Gujarat Titans in what will be his first major leadership stint.

In other major news ahead of the new IPL season, star wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant has been declared fit for cricket at the highest level.

The 26-year-old Pant has recovered from knee and back injuries in the past 15 months, and he now returns to high-profile cricket after BCCI’s medical panel declared him fit for action. He hasn’t played since being in a car accident in December 2022. He will lead the Delhi Capitals’ franchise once again, having previously led them to the IPL 2020 final.

The 22-year-old Yashasvi Jaiswal, who scored 712 runs against England in the five-test series, will pair up at the top with Jos Buttler for Rajasthan Royals.

Australia’s pace duo of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins had become the top and second most expensive IPL players during the auctions held in December 2023.

Starc returns to the IPL for the first time since 2015, when he had played for Royal Challengers Bengaluru. Kolkata Knight Riders paid an eye-watering $3 million for his services.

Earlier that day, Sunrisers Hyderabad had shelled out nearly $2.5 million for Cummins and he will lead the franchise during this season.

The final will be held on May 26.

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This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.


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