IPL 12: Clash of the heavyweights – CSK vs RCB

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Bengaluru, March 22: The mango showers are a little delayed in the south this season but the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League has come in early as the heavyweights Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore are set to battle it out in the opening fixture at the M. Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday.

With the stalwarts of international cricket – Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni leading RCB and CSK respectively, this exciting clash is expected to give the league a thrilling start.

With 14 wins in 22 matches, the stats favour Dhoni’s side than Kohli’s XI. This means, CSK have built a fortress – remaining unbeaten since 2014. Will the Indian skipper Kohli’s boys break this Bull Run? Let’s watch on Saturday.

Kohli has showcased his master-class in all the formats of the game but the trophy cabinet has just been collecting dust since the inception of the league. But the hunger to bring home a trophy is always on the mind.

To flag off their campaign on a high, RCB and CSK sweated out during an intense training session.

Kohli will be looking forward to continue his fine form along with AB de Villiers in the top-order. RCB ’keeper Parthiv Patel, West Indian Shimron Hetmyer will bolster the batting for the visitors.

In the initial stage of the league, RCB will miss the services of Aussie Marcus Stoinis and Nathan Coulter-Nile – who are currently with the national squad for the ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE. Until duo joins the team, RCB will expect Englishman Moeen Ali to fire.

Leading the spin department, Yuzvendra Chahal will be complemented by Washington Sundar, while Umesh Yadav and Mohd. Siraj make the pace department.

But on Saturday, all eyes will be Mumbai’s Shivam Dube – who was picked up for a whopping INR 5 crore during the auctions.

Last season, CSK’s average age of the player was 31 years and they went on to win the title. The line-up is near perfection with Aussie all-rounder Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu taking the top two slots followed by a bunch of experienced campaigners Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav and Dwayne Bravo making the crux of CSK.

Their spearhead Lungi Ngidi is ruled out due to an injury while David Willey’s unavailability has made their team management looking for replacements or even considering the lesser known pacers.

Squad: CSK: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Karn Sharma, Dhruv Shorey, Faf du Plessis, M Vijay, Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Billings, Mitchell Santner, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Imran Tahir, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, N Jagadeesan, Shardul Thakur, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Mohit Sharma, Ruturaj Gaikwad.

RCB: Virat Kohli (captain), A. B. de Villiers, Colin de Grandhomme, Kulwant Khejroliya, Moeen Ali, Md. Siraj, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Parthiv Patel, Navdeep Saini, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi, Yuzvendra Chahal, Marcus Stoinis, Shivam Dube, Prayas Ray Barman, Shimron Hetmyer, Akshdeep Nath, Himmat Singh, Milind Kumar, Heinrich Klaasen, Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Devdutt Padikkal.

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