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CSK eye positive start against RCB as teams try to find early answers to vexed questions

CSK eye positive start against RCB as teams try to find early answers to vexed questions

Chennai, A high-stakes match between cross-city rivals Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bengaluru here on Friday will mark the beginning of IPL 2024, but, beyond the grandeur around it, the two protagonists will have to find early answers to some deep questions as they attempt to enter a rarefied territory.

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The Super Kings are five-time and defending champions, and a sixth title will put them in a space where no team has entered so far, not even Mumbai Indians, who also have five IPL trophies.

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On the other hand, the Royal Challengers, who recently grabbed their maiden title through Women’s Premier League, will be eager to add a first IPL title to their shelf.

However, they have their own challenges to master.

The Super Kings have been the torch-bearers of success in the IPL under MS Dhoni, who has shown no sign of slowing down even at 42.

While his cricketing brain is still immune to advancing years, the passing summers have caught up with his reflexes as a batsman.

So, the younger names will have to step up. The CSK have placed enormous faith in new recruit Rachin Ravindra in the absence of Devon Conway, who will miss the initial part of IPL due to a thumb injury.

The CSK have more Kiwi flavour in Daryl Mitchell, a hard-hitting middle-order batter and a handy seamer.

In batting, they can also look to bank on the experience of Ajinkya Rahane and youthful exuberance of opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, who is entering the IPL after top-scoring for Maharashtra in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

But their true strength lies in a clutch of all-rounders and spinners who can use the abrasive Chidambaram Stadium pitch to the hilt.

The likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner, Moeen Ali, Ravindra, Maheesh Theekshana can make even the best dance to their tunes here. The CSK also have two wily domestic campaigners in pacers Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur.

However, Sri Lankan slinger Matheesha Pathirana is a doubtful starter after suffering a hamstring injury during the recent T20I series against Bangladesh.

But those little scratches on the CSK machine do not make the task of RCB any easier. To understand it better, RCB have not beaten CSK at this venue since 2008.

Skipper Faf du Plessis and star batter Virat Kohli, who is returning to competitive cricket after a two-month break, will once again have to shoulder the batting responsibility.

They are set to open together, but this time the addition of Cameron Green might act as a protection plan if one of them or both of them fail to get going. Green can also chip in as a bowler.

Then there is always Glenn Maxwell, whose high-return outings in last year’s World Cup might not have been forgotten.

They have a mix of extreme pace and skills in the fast bowling unit through Mohammed Siraj, Lockie Ferguson, Alzarri Joseph, Akash Deep and Reece Topley, but none of them are particularly good in death over situations.

Even more worryingly, the RCB spin attack wears a thin look in the absence of leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga, who was released ahead of the auction.

They will have to hope for Maxwell to deliver the goods with his off-spin but others like Karn Sharma, Himanshu Sharma and Mayank Dagar are either short of match practice or untested.

Squads: CSK: MS Dhoni , Moeen Ali, Deepak Chahar, Tushar Deshpande, Shivam Dube, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Ravindra Jadeja, Ajay Mandal, Mukesh Choudhary, Ajinkya Rahane, Shaik Rasheed, Mitchell Santner, Simarjeet Singh, Nishant Sindhu, Prashant Solanki, Maheesh Theekshana, Rachin Ravindra, Shardul

Thakur, Daryl Mitchell, Sameer Rizvi, Mustafizur Rahman and Avanish Rao Aravelly.

RCB: Faf du Plessis , Glenn Maxwell, Virat Kohli, Rajat Patidar, Anuj Rawat, Dinesh Karthik, Suyash Prabhudessai, Will Jacks, Mahipal Lomror, Karn Sharma, Manoj Bhandage, Mayank Dagar, Vijaykumar Vyshak, Akash Deep, Mohammed Siraj, Reece Topley, Himanshu Sharma, Rajan Kumar, Cameron Green, Alzarri Joseph, Yash Dayal, Tom Curran, Lockie Ferguson, Swapnil Singh and Saurav Chauhan.

Match starts: 8.00 PM.

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


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