The Match: Chennai Super Kings will play the Kolkata Knight Riders. It is the first game of this edition’s IPL, which is in its fourth season, and it is a game between the best team in the IPL so far and the worst one, if one goes by the records. >
How the two teams match up: Both are playing their first games in the tournament alright, but in the previous tournaments, Chennai has entered the semi-final of the IPL on all three occasions. They have been winners once, runner-up once and semi-finalists on the third occasion. On the other hand, the Kolkata Knight Riders have never entered the semi-final so far. >
Ground Conditions: The game will be played at the M Chidambaram Stadium, or the Chepauk ground as it is also known as. In the games played here at the World Cup, it had shown some wear and tear and while it doled out some exciting games, there was no doubt that batting was difficult here in the tournament. It will not change drastically for the IPL but what should help is that this is a 20 over game and that should make it a tad easier.
The Teams: It is a study of contrast. On the one hand, the Super Kings have a side which is not too dissimilar from the one that had played in the first three editions of the tournament. On the other hand, the Kolkata Knight Riders have a totally new-look team, thanks to their poor previous record in the tournament.
Chennai will be led by the ever-cool MS Dhoni, the World Cup winning skipper. He will have the likes of Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay and Dwayne Bravo in the top of the order while the bowling will be led by Doug Bollinger, who has been dropped by the Australian side on tour to Bangladesh.
Kolkata’s new captain will be Gautam Gambhir, who was bought over by the side for a whopping $2.4 million. There will be Yusuf Pathan in the side, apart from the two all-rounders in Jacques Kallis and Shakib al Hasan. Pradeep Sangwan will be the Indian bowler to look out for.
Players to look out for: Eoin Morgan of Kolkata Knight Riders will look to get going in the IPL after a couple of poor performances, whereas Albie Morkel will be one from Chennai after missing out on the World Cup.
Prediction: Chennai should win the game but in this format, the likes of Kolkata, with a new-look side will give Chennai a run for their money.