The twelfth season of the Indian Premier League starts on March 23rd, and in the first match we see last year’s champions Chennai Super Kings take on Virat Kohli led Royal Challengers Bangalore at Chennai’s home ground M. A. Chidambaram Stadium.
Both the teams, Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore are believed to be favorites to lift the trophy this year, however seeing the past records, it is CSK who are more certain to win the trophy than RCB, between the two, who historically have had great squad depth but have always somehow choked to win the tournament. CSK, on the other hand, have won the IPL 3 times out of the 9 seasons they have participated in and have been one of the most successful teams of the tournament along with Mumbai Indians.
Chennai are expected to include Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, and David Willey as their overseas players into the playing eleven, along with their skipper MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Murali Vijay, and Harbhajan Singh.
Bangalore are expected to field AB de Villiers, Shimron Hetmyer, Moeen Ali and Nathan Coulter-Nile as their overseas players, along with their captain Virat Kohli, Parthiv Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Shivam Dube, Mohammed Siraj and Akshdeep Nath.
Suresh Raina vs Yuzvendra Chahal
Suresh Raina has been one of the legends for the Chennai team, playing a total of 157 games in 9 seasons. His overall IPL average across the 11 years is 34.37 in 176 matches with a strike rate of 138.47. He is just 15 runs short to become the first player in the IPL history to reach 5000 runs mark. With 1 IPL century and 35 fifties across the 11 seasons, he is also considered to be one of the legends in the entire IPL history to have ever graced the tournament.
The leg-break bowler from Haryana, Yuzvendra Chahal is the chief go-to bowler of RCB skipper Virat Kohli when he is in search for a wicket. Having already played in 70 IPL matches across 6 seasons, the former Chess player is an experienced campaigner who has had his fair share of success in the International Cricket as well. With a total of 82 wickets in his 69 IPL innings, Chahal manages to pick up at least 1 wicket per match with an impressive average of 23.56, although his economy is a bit in the high range with 7.77. But it is primarily due to him being a leg-break bowler whom batsman try to charge and score runs quickly, and although this may be considered a weakness by many, but this is how he convinces batsmen to go after him and in the process lose their wickets after mistiming the shots that are easily caught by the fielders in the deep.
Dwayne Bravo vs Virat Kohli
West Indian Dwayne Bravo is an experienced campaigner in the International circuit. Having an International experience of 15 years, Bravo was bought back by the Chennai based team in IPL 2018 auctions after having not found any potential suitors in IPL 2017. Having played 122 matches for 3 teams across 10 IPL seasons, Bravo averages 23.90 with 136 wickets in 119 innings. He also has a couple of 4-wicket hauls in his name. Although his economy rate is 8.40, it is justifiable and actually pretty impressive for a bowler who generally bowls a maximum of his overs during death overs.
The best modern-day batsman, and arguably the best batsman ever to have played limited overs cricket, RCB captain Virat Kohli leads the batting-order for RCB. In his 12-year IPL career, Virat has played 163 matches and has participated in 155 innings with an average of 38.36 and a strike-rate of 130.76. He further has 4 centuries to his name along with 34 half-centuries and is only 52-runs short on becoming the first batsman in IPL history to reach 5000 runs. He is second in all-time IPL leading run-getters list, behind only to Suresh Raina who has 4985 career IPL runs.
Considering a shrewd and proven skipper at their disposal, along with a well-balanced and proven players in their squad, Team CricWizz expects Chennai Super Kings to easily win the first match against Royal Challengers Bangalore. But since M. A. Chidambaram stadium has always been a chasing ground, and with Virat Kohli, the chase machine, around the block for RCB, one can never write off the Bangalore team if they are to bat second.