CSK to face Delhi in their opener in IPL today

Mumbai: Rishabh Pant’s Delhi Capitals and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings square off each other in an IPL match here today, with both sides aiming for a winning start to their campaign.

The Delhi franchise ended runners-up last season in the UAE and would be aiming to go one better this time and a good start would be what they will be looking for.

The Delhi franchise ended runners-up last season in the UAE and would be aiming to go one better this time and a good start would be what they will be looking for.

Three-time champions CSK had a forgettable season last year, finishing at seventh out of eight teams and they would also be seeking a winning start in their bid to make amends of a poor IPL 2020. Keeper-batsman Pant, anointed to captaincy in the absence of injured Shreyas Iyer, has said recently that he would put his learning from Dhoni to use in DC’s season opener.

“My first match as captain will be against Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni). It will be a good experience for me as I have learned a lot from him. I’ll apply my own experience and learning from him,” Pant had said recently.

Delhi’s strong batting line up of Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Steven Smith and Pant himself will look to fire on all cylinders right from the opening game.

Dhawan (618 runs) was the second highest run-scorer in IPL 2020 and looked in good touch in the recent ODI series against England. He would be raring to go this season.

Shaw will be itching to prove his worth after amassing 827 runs in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. It is most likely that Shaw and Dhawan would open.

Captain Pant, a hard-hitting batsman, is in the form of his life, having emerged as a match-winner for India in the series against Australia and England. He would like to continue his good run.

Chennai will be bolstered by the return of the experienced batsman Suresh Raina, who is their all-time leading run-scorer, with 5,368 runs.

Raina will strengthen the top-order, which has the likes of young Ruturaj Gaikwad, South African Faf Du Plessis and Ambati Rayudu.

With the likes of young Sam Curran, who almost pulled off a win for England in the final ODI against India, and Moeen Ali, along with great finisher Dhoni, Chennai also have a stable middle-order.

Their bowling attack will be led by the ever-improving Shardul Thakur, who can also bat, and Deepak Chahar. And then there is Ravindra Jadeja, the wily left-arm spinner, who can also be handy with the bat.

 

NT Bureau