The lion is all set for the battle with its cub on Saturday as the battleground is ready for the clash and uproar between master captain MS Dhoni and Rishabh Pant, who is going to lead the Delhi Capitals for the first time. India's biggest cricketing party Indian Premier League (IPL) has unveiled its 14th edition on Friday in Chennai with Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore opening the season.
As the second match of the season, Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings will be taking on the potential fleet of Delhi on Saturday and the match will be hosted by Wankhede stadium in Mumbai. IPL is the only cricketing format where fans relish seeing Dhoni's captaincy after getting retired from the International Cricket last year. There is no second thought that Dhoni is instrumental in building the Chennai Super Kings as one of the successful teams in IPL history.
However, unlike any other season, Dhoni's fleet is in the necessity to display the signs of revival from the last year's fallen grounds and we can expect that Chennai Super Kings would deliver splendid shows in the very first game as each and every match is important for Dhoni to wipe off the disappointments in the books of 2020. Saturday's match would be interesting and it will catch national attention from the toss to the post-match presentation.
There were some overhauls and changes in Dhoni's fleet and what would become one of the surprise picks, the CSK has inducted Test cricket-styled batsman Cheteshwar Pujara into the squad, and along with Pujara for Rs 50 lakh, CSK has also bought Krishnappa Gowtham (All-rounder for Rs 9.25 crore), Moeen Ali (All-rounder for Rs 7 crore), Bhagath Varma (All-rounder for Rs 20 lakh), Hari Nishaanth (Batsman for Rs 20 lakh), and Harishankar Reddy (Bowler- Rs 20 lakh).
One of the imperative onuses for CSK for a revival would be revamping the batting line-up as the flawed batting order of the team was one of the main reasons why it had stumbled in the last season. When the CSK gets to the battle on Saturday, the biggest challenge would be taking on the bowling line-up of the Delhi Capitals and the team is getting captained by Rishabh Pant, who replaced Shreyas Iyer, who is suffering from a shoulder injury.
Delhi Capitals had roped in Steve Smith to their squad to power up the batting line-up while the team's bowling lineup has pacers Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, and all-rounders Ravichandran Ashwin, Chris Woakes, Tom Curran, and Marcus Stoinis. Veteran leg-spinner Amit Mishra adds more power to Delhi's bowling attack and it would obviously be the perfect test for the Chennai Super Kings over the might and efficacy in the batting line-up.
One of the significant factors for Chennai is the comeback of Suresh Raina. The reputed batsman, who announced his retirement from the international cricket moments after Dhoni's announcement, has skipped last season and his return is expected to boost Chennai's batting along with Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, Dhoni, and Ruturaj Gaikwad. What could give a huge relief to the CSK is that the reports that Rabada and Nortje won't be playing this match as the South African duo have been under quarantine.
On the front of probable Playing XI squad of Chennai, Robin Uthappa/ Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C and WK), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali/ Imran Tahir, Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur, and Deepak Chahar. The probable playing XI of Delhi includes Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Steve Smith, Rishabh Pant (C and WK), Marcus Stoinis, Chris Woakes, Shimron Hetmyer, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Umesh Yadav, and Ishant Sharma.
When we take the count of head-to-head matches, both the teams had played 23 matches in which Chennai has won 15 while the rest eight were won by Delhi. If the CSK wins the toss on Saturday, the reports say that Dhoni would opt for chase and if that's the case, it would be a real test for the CSK's batting line-up to pass the factors of complete batting. Sustaining the fractures from the last season, Chennai must show a sign of a comeback and it must start building the winning momentum from the first match. The lion MS Dhoni comes with mastermind and brilliance while the cub Rishabh Pant has the tenacity to fight back and they are all set to the fierce battle. The match will begin at 7.30 pm and you can watch it on Star Sports and Hotstar.