IPL 2023: Defending champions Gujarat Titans take on four-time winners Chennai Super Kings


The PL hit the restart button last season when two new teams entered the competition. Gujarat Titans, who won the trophy in their debut season, vindicated the claims of India’s resource pool that could easily accommodate 10 teams in the league. This built a reputation for the Titans and brought Hardik Pandya’s capable leadership skills to the fore.


It’s MS Dhoni vs Hardik Pandya in IPL 2023 opener

Friday will be another fresh start for the tournament. The tournament returns to its home-and-away format, the first time since 2019 that the tournament is played outside the bio-secure bubble. When Hardik’s Titans walk out to an expectedly packed Narendra Modi Stadium tonight, they will be a perennial power. in IPL cricket in MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings awaits them.

This season will test the Titans’ mettle as the defending champions. Hardik offered India hope of finding a stable successor to Rohit Sharma as India’s white-ball captain. The broadcasters must be drooling over the match of India’s most successful captain MS Dhoni challenging Hardik, the leading man-in-waiting who was groomed as an international cricketer by Dhoni himself. This time, Hardik will also have Kane Williamson by his side.

IPL Recap: How Gujarat Titans won the title in 2022

The Titans weren’t dependent on solo performances en route to the title. They relied on teamwork in the season, winning 12 of 16 games. It sounds just like the template Dhoni set for CSK to win the IPL four times. A smart captain in Dhoni will be looking to make amends for last season’s ninth place finish. Titans also beat CSK twice in 2022.

CSK have added muscle to their squad by bringing in England Test captain and leading all-rounder Ben Stokes for Rs 16.25 crore. While he is likely to play most of the IPL as a batsman only, the move was aimed at filling the void left by Dwayne Bravo.

In Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway, CSK have an opening pair who are in good touch. Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, Stokes and Dhoni provide solidity as well as great batting ability in the middle order. Stokes and Ravindra Jadeja – the two all-rounders in the team – lend balance. Jadeja will also be looking to improve on last season’s run which saw him lose his CSK captaincy and subsequently damage his relationship with the CSK management.

The bowling department looks in much better form this time around. Deepak Chahar, who missed last season due to injury, is back after an extensive rehabilitation program at the National Cricket Academy and will be looking to get some game time to prove his fitness and form. Crafty New Zealand left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner is another option that CSK have.

Shubman Gill will look to build on his growing reputation as an international cricketer. With South African David Miller unavailable for at least the first two matches, it will be the responsibility of skipper Pandya and Williamson to look after the middle order with Rahul Tewatia tasked with the power bowlers in the later stages of the innings.
Mohammed Shami and Rashid Khan’s wicket-taking abilities add bite to the bowling attack. Shivam Mavi and Alzarri Joseph are also expected to step up.

MSD misses batting in the nets but CSK CEO says he will play

MS Dhoni, with a brace on his right knee, was in training at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday but did not bat, sparking speculation about his availability. But CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan said Dhoni “will play”. “He will lead 100 per cent on Friday,” said Viswanathan.


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