IPL 2024: World’s top T20 league starts today with hosts CSK taking on RCB | Cricket News

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CHENNAI: If summer comes, can IPL be far behind?
As the temperatures soar in Chennai, the buzz around the MA Chidambaram Stadium increases. It’s that time of the year when Chennaiites start believing that anything is possible. On Thursday, there was a dash of extra spice added to the sense of anticipation around the venue with MS Dhoni deciding to hand on the leadership duties to Ruturaj Gaikwad.
No other team has owned the IPL — not even Mumbai Indians — the way Chennai Super Kings have over the years. Five titles in 14 years of participation and 12 last-four entries — they are truly the kings of this competition. And when you’ve Royal Challengers Bengaluru as your first opponent in your own den, there are even more reasons to feel supremely confident about a good start. Against RCB, CSK have an almost lopsided (20-10) head-to-head record.

Given the balance of the two sides, it will need a huge effort from the visitors to turn the tables on Dhoni’s devils.

It’s not that RCB are pushovers. On paper, they have a power-packed batting line-up in skipper Faf du Plessis, Virat Kohli, Rajat Patidar, Glen Maxwell, Cameron Green and Dinesh Karthik. But can they live up to the challenge that CSK bowlers will present on a track where the ball is bound to stop, and occasionally turn, a bit?

Faf and Patidar are probably their best bet against a canny CSK attack, given the fact that Virat can be slightly undercooked following his return to competitive cricket after a break of more than two months. Maxwell’s destructive abilities are well-known, but against the spin-trio of Ravindra Jadeja, Mahesh Theekshana and Moeen Ali, things won’t be easy for the Aussie.

Karthik — more a commentator than a player these days — is playing his last season of IPL and can be handy. But he had a nightmare with the bat last season. At this stage of his career, it may not be easy to turn things around just like that. As for Green, Chepauk’s track and Dhoni’s (and Gaikwad’s) manoeuvrings may just prove a little too much.

While the RCB batters can still make a fight of it if they have a good day, the CSK bowling attack could be a little too superior. Their No. 1 pacer Matheesha Pathirana isn’t available due to a hamstring injury, but the roster consisting of Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Mustafizur Rahman and the three experienced spinners has immense depth, especially at Chepauk.

RCB have India’s premier pacer Mohammed Siraj, who can be destructive on his day, and new Test debutant Akash Deep, among others. But the spin department is too thin.

When Dhoni can choose not to bat more than 12 balls, you can well imagine how strong the defending champions are. Rachin Ravindra will probably make his IPL debut as an opener, courtesy injury to Devon Conway, and the Kiwi all-rounder provides the extra spin option as well. New captain Ruturaj, Daryl Mitchell and the designated spinhitter Shivam Dubey should enjoy the comfort cushion of having the likes of Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane, Moeen and Dhoni around.
Hunting in a pack, they should make Friday the perfect launching pad to have another title run which ends at Chepauk in two months’ time.



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