Capitals to conquer ageing CSK
The first weekend of the Vivo Indian Premier League kicks off with a match up between the Chennai Super Kings and the Delhi Capitals in Mumbai. For CSK, they will be hoping that their team of veterans can rise from the ashes again to boost them up the table, whilst the Capitals will be excited to get out on the park, after a tortuous build up.
I won’t be the first and I won’t be the last person to criticise the Chennai Super Kings recruitment after looking at their squad going into the IPL this year. After another poor campaign last season, it seemed fairly obvious that a culling of deadwood was needed, but the three times champions seem adamant that their batch of older players can repeat the success of 2010, 2011 and 2018.
Led by the grandfather of Indian cricket, MS Dhoni will forever be adored by his loyal CSK fans, but he needs to roll back the years and lead from the front if the yellow army are going to claim the points in this one. Sam Curran will be hoping to carry on from where he left off, after the all-rounder very nearly pulled off one of the greatest ODI innings in recent history in Pune last week.
Curran is the player that CSK need to shape their side around, his youthfulness comes with great excitement with both the bat and the ball, and it will be interesting to see if they unleash him at the top of the order again, like they tried last year.
From Lancashire with love
No later than 8 hours after being announced as Lancashire’s new signing for the Royal London One Day Cup this summer, Shreyas Iyer was hobbling off the field after sustaining a shoulder injury that has left him ruled out of the entire IPL this year. The dynamic batsman and leader was one of the reasons why the Capitals went so close last year, and he will be missed sorely as a rock in the middle overs, and for his cool and calm head as leader.
With Iyer gone, the thrilling youngster Rishabh Pant has taken on the job of captain, and along with Prithvi Shaw, they have two of the most flamboyant and exciting young Indian batsmen around at the moment. They will both learn and gain knowledge from new overseas signing Steve Smith who joins from the Rajasthan Royals, and in many ways, will be seen as a replacement for Iyer, at number 3 or 4.
Spinner, Axar Patel will miss the first part of the tournament after testing positive for Covid-19, but the Capitals have plenty of strength to cope without the left arm leg spinner, who had great success this winter with the red ball against England.
It could be a cagey opening match for both sides who will be trying to find their feet, and the right formula to get off to a good start, but for me, last year’s runners up should have too much for the aging CSK.
I am backing the Delhi Capitals to score more runs in the powerplay than the Chennai Super Kings at 1.74 with Fun88.