The 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will kickstart from Friday with a blockbuster clash of star-studded defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT) and four-time champions Chennai Super Kings at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
The match will be a battle between two generations of Indian cricket. At one side will be CSK skipper MS Dhoni, who took Indian cricket to new heights of success in the late 2000s to early 2010s by clinching the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup (2007), ICC Cricket World Cup (2011) and ICC Champions Trophy (2013) and became the only skipper to win these three major titles.
Dhoni replicated this success in IPL, leading the team to the title on four occasions. On the other side is GT skipper Hardik Pandya, who was pushed into superstardom after leading GT to the title in their debut season. Pandya has also led India to some wins at the international level in the shorter format and is making a case for himself as a future white-ball skipper.
Hardik Pandya-led Gujarat Titans will be facing a huge weight of expectations after clinching the title in their debut season. To prove that their title win was not a fluke, they would have to start this season well against the four-time champions Chennai Super Kings.
Shubman Gill, who is the squad’s opener, is in excellent form at the international level and must give his team a quick, purposeful start. Pandya, the captain, will be important with both the bat and the ball given his current form. Matthew Wade, Rahul Tewatia, and Srikar Bharat are just a few of the batsmen that can hit big for GT in their middle order. With the addition of former Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson, they now have a very strong anchor who can keep the inning together while others freely throw the ball into the air.
All-rounders like Rashid Khan, Odean Smith, Tewatia, Abhinav Manohar, Pandya and Vijay Shankar provide GT with a lot of depth and a variety of options with both bat and ball.
GT has a solid bowling unit as well. Alzarri Joseph and Mohammed Shami are wicket-taking bowlers who are able to run the offence on their own. Everyone will be watching Ireland pacer Joshua Little, who was brought in by GT after an outstanding ICC T20 World Cup 2022 campaign in which he took 11 wickets and a hat-trick. A good spin bowler who poses a threat is Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore. He is also a bowler to keep an eye on thanks to his T20 economy rate of 5.48 and 57 wickets in the format.
Yash Dayal, who took an impressive 11 wickets in nine matches last season, will be aiming to pick up from where he left last year.CSK is just as star-studded. The team has a rock-solid opening combination of ever-consistent Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad. Conway’s reliability and consistency make him the perfect partner for Gaikwad, giving the latter freedom to express himself.
Veterans like Ambati Rayadu and Ajinkya Rahane can play the role of anchoring or attacking, as per the situation.
Nonetheless, the inclusion of elite all-rounders like Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, and Ravindra Jadeja makes CSK a really dangerous team. They are capable of performing whatever task that is given to them, whether it be batting or bowling. This trio is capable of everything, including power, hitting up the order, taking key wickets, and batting!
CSK has just as much depth as CSK with the presence of the aforementioned all-rounders. The presence of bowling all-rounders like Dwaine Pretorius, Deepak Chahar and Mitchell Santner is a bonus.
The four-time champions also have a great bowling attack, boosted by the presence of the aforementioned all-rounders. However, the side is left without a left-arm seamer. Mukesh Choudhary has been ruled out of the tournament due to an injury. Akash Singh, who represented India in 2020 U-19 World Cup, has replaced the bowler. But before the cricketing action, there will be some music to celebrate one of the biggest festivals of cricket. An opening ceremony will take place to entertain the crowd.
This ceremony is all set to be an unforgettable night with three headlining acts that will dazzle the audience with their incredible performances. Opening the show will be a jaw-dropping performance by Arijit Singh and his troupe, enthralling the audience with his vocal acrobatics.
South Indian cinema and music have broken world records and gained international recognition, showcasing their phenomenal talent on a global platform. To build on this success, the team have decided to celebrate them, using the mega platform of the Tata IPL, featuring two of India’s most popular stars and youth icons – Rashmika Mandanna and Tamannaah Bhatia. These talented performers will set the stage ablaze with their incredible dance performances, dazzling audiences with their moves.
Gujarat Titans squad: Abhinav Manohar, Shubman Gill, Kane Williamson, Hardik Pandya(c), Rahul Tewatia, Matthew Wade(w), Rashid Khan, Shivam Mavi, Alzarri Joseph, Mohammed Shami, Yash Dayal, Srikar Bharat, Wriddhiman Saha, Sai Sudharsan, Urvil Patel, Vijay Shankar, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Odean Smith, Jayant Yadav, Joshua Little, Darshan Nalkande, Noor Ahmad, Mohit Sharma and Pradeep Sangwan.
Chennai Super Kings squad: Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ambati Rayudu, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni(w/c), Dwaine Pretorius, Deepak Chahar, Simarjeet Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Subhranshu Senapati, Shaik Rasheed, Nishant Sindhu, Mitchell Santner, Bhagath Varma, Tushar Deshpande, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Ajay Jadav Mandal, Prashant Solanki and Akash Singh. (ANI)