All-time meetings: Chennai Super Kings W7, Royal Challengers Bangalore W2 Last meeting: Chennai Super Kings beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 6 wickets
THE TEAM NEWS
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
Coach: Stephen Fleming
Captain: MS Dhoni
The Super Kings come into this opening match which pits MS Dhoni against Virat Kohli in what is sure to be a cracker as the Chennai outfit bid to defend their crown and they will take heart from the fact that they have beaten Royal Challengers Bangalore in their last six meetings.
They have been dealt a blow on the eve of the tournament beginning with Lungi Ngidi being ruled out with a side strain so they will have to do without the South African fast bowler but their hopes will be relying on spin heavily as they have to choose between BlackCap Mitchell Santner and South Africa’s Imran Tahir.
Faf du Plessis and Imran Tahir were both left out of South Africa’s remaining two T20 matches with Sri Lanka and are available to play here, and if Tahir gets the nod over Santner, it will be those two along with Shane Watson and Dwayne Bravo as the four overseas players for this opening match.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
Coach: Gary Kirsten
Captain: Virat Kohli
There is plenty of expectation on RCB once again coming into this new IPL campaign as they are led by India skipper Virat Kohli but they face a tough opening match against a team that has dominated them in recent times and are the defending champions.
AB de Villiers, Shimron Hetmyer, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Marcus Stoinis figure to be their quartet of overseas players when everybody is available but the two Australians are with the national team still in their series with Pakistan so they will likely be replaced by Moeen Ali and Tim Southee for this opening match.
Yuzvendra Chahal has one of the best bowling records in recent seasons and he will be key on this Chennai pitch while Moeen Ali and Shivam Dube will be pivotal in their roles as all-rounders to add some much-needed depth to the batting that looks weak beyond the top five.
There are plenty of factors in favour of the defending champions Chennai Super Kings coming into this opening match against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore. MS Dhoni’s men have home advantage on what is unlikely to be a high-scoring pitch, they have won their last six meetings with RCB, and they have all their players available for this opener. RCB are without Coulter-Nile and Stoinis, although they have reasonable replacements. That said, the hosts have to be favoured here to get their defence off to a winning start with their impressive bowling attack and depth of batting likely to make the difference.
Success! You will now receive an email with a confirmation link to complete the process.
Enter your email address to receive our newsletter on all things sport, data and analysis!