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The wait is over as we are just a night away from the commencement of the much-awaited grand T20 event, the 15th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to take the center stage.  The tournament will kick start with the defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and last season's finalists, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).

The Shreyas Iyer-led KKR are part of Group A, while the CSK head Group B. This will be only the second time the tournament follows a group stage, the first being in 2011. The Super Kings will come with great confidence as they have pretty much managed to retain their winning combination, however, it will be interesting to see how the four-time champions handle the absence of Faf du Plessis and Shardul Thakur.

Another breaking news that came in just ahead of the opening encounter was that of now former skipper MS Dhoni handing over the captaincy duties to star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, which does indicate the transition process of the franchise. 

KKR will feature a new-look side which will be led by the in-form Shreyas Iyer. They did have their core all-rounders retained in the form of Russell, Narine, and Venkatesh Iyer. KKR does seem a well-balanced side on paper and it would be interesting to see how close they can get to the silverware this time around.  

MS Dhoni has handed over the captaincy, however, his presence will be felt all over given his influence on the sport. Can Jadeja continue the legacy? Or will the young Shreyas Iyer start etching his name in the upcoming skipper's list?

Match timings

Match Toss Time: 19:00 IST (13:30 GMT)

Match Start Time: 19:30 IST (14:00 GMT)

Match Venue: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

Head to Head

Matches played: 27, Chennai Super Kings: 18, Kolkata knight Riders: 9

Weather conditions and pitch

CSK vs KKR weather and pitch

Team News

CSK will be without the services of their most expensive pick in the 2022 auction, Deepak Chahar. The pacer is yet to recover from his injury and that means the U19 sensation Rajvardhan Hangargekar could make his debut in the grand stage. The Kiwi opener Devon Conway is another player who is likely to make his IPL debut.

For the Kolkata Knight Riders, there are no injury concerns, however, their spearhead Pat Cummins and experienced opener Aaron Finch are set to miss the first 5 matches owing to international duties. English attacking opener Alex Hales too pulled out stating the bio-bubble fatigue as the reason. Sam Billings is likely to take up his void and Pat Cummins' ideal replacement looks to be Tim Southee.

Probable playing Xl

Chennai Super Kings (CSK): Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devon Conway, Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, Shivam Dube, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Dwayne Bravo, Chris Jordan, Rajvardhan Hangargekar/ Tushar Deshpande, Adam Milne

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR): Venkatesh Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer (C), Nitish Rana, Sam Billings, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Tim Southee, Shivam Mavi, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy

Must-picks

The newly appointed CSK skipper, Ravindra Jadeja is the pick of the slot for us as he has been in impeccable form in recent times. He along with the in-form KKR skipper Shreyas Iyer are expected to boost the fantasy line-up.

Last season's orange cap winner, Ruturaj Gaikwad continued his merry run in the first-class circuit as well and he is expected to be amongst the runs as well. KKR all-rounder Sunil Narine is another must-pick for the season opener.

CSK vs KKR fantasy team

CSK vs KKR fantasy team
Cricwizz fantasy team

Captain and Vice-captain Picks

Jadeja CSK Shreyas Iyer KKR
Ravindra Jadeja (CSK) and Shreyas Iyer (KKR)

Prediction

It is a very difficult call to make especially when the teams will be playing only their first match of the tournament. Added to that all the teams will feature a set of new talents on their side. However, on paper, KKR looks a bit more balanced side and the presence of three supreme all-rounders give them an added advantage while chasing. 

CSK are missing out on Deepak Chahar, who has been an active wicket-taker for the franchise in the last couple of seasons. CSK's batting does look solid but their bowling attack doesn't look threatening enough. The toss will play a vital role, especially with the dew factor coming into play. We do expect CSK to go far in this tournament but the KKR does seem to hold the edge in this opening encounter.

Cricwizz predicts KKR to win the match against CSK

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