The opening match of the Indian Premier League 2022 will be a repeat of last year’s final as the defending champions, Chennai Super Kings take on the Kolkata Knight Riders tomorrow afternoon. Both teams have reshuffled and will have to make new plans for the brand new season.
These two sides both have a new captain after MS Dhoni stepped down as CSK captain with Ravindra Jadeja being handed the responsibility of leading the side. On the other hand, KKR will be led by Shreyas Iyer.
The defending and four-time IPL champions have a lot of things to worry about as they have key players unavailable like Deepak Chahar (for a big chunk of the tournament) and Moeen Ali (for this opener). That puts pressure on the new captain straight away. Chahar and Ali combined for 20 wickets last season whilst the top-wicket taker from the last campaign, Shardul Thakur, has moved to the Delhi Capitals.
The form of Ruturaj Gaikwad will be crucial considering he top-scored for Chennai in six matches last season. He also has a new opening partner in South African born New Zealander, Devon Conway. Their opening partnership will be crucial for CSK in this match and through the course of the season. Adam Milne and Dwayne Bravo may end up shouldering a lot of the bowling responsibilities.
KKR are hoping to embark on a new journey under Shreyas Iyer’s captaincy, a player they acquired in the auction. The late pullout of opener Alex Hales plus the absence of his replacement Aaron Finch and fast bowler Pat Cummins (both due to national duties) will see the team a bit stretched in the first few games.
All eyes will be on Venkatesh Iyer to see if he can extend his heroics from the UAE leg of last season (370 runs, (Avg. 41.11, SR 128.47). With the ball, they probably have the best wrist-spin mystery duo of Sunil Narine and Varun Chakaravarthy who combined for 34 wickets last season, conceding at 6.58 or below per over.
CSK and KKR have played 26 times in the IPL over the years. The Yellow Army have a clear advantage with 17 wins to KKR’s 8. There was one match that ended with no result. I would avoid betting on the winner for this match as it is the first game of the 2022 season but if you do, put your money on CSK.
Wankhede saw a first-innings average of 176 last season, but five of the last six such scores saw totals of 177 and above.
Four of the last five Powerplay scores at this venue have been 50 or above.
CSK have scored more Powerplay runs than KKR in seven of the last ten H2Hs.
CSK’s Ambati Rayudu needs one more six to become the 12th player to have 150 career IPL sixes. He failed to hit one in five of his last eight IPL matches though.
KKR have lost ten of the 11 IPL matches when batting first.
KKR’s Sunil Narine has the fourth-most number of wickets (20) v CSK by any bowler. He has taken 2+ wickets in five of his last eight H2Hs.
Players To Watch
The experience of Dwayne Bravo could be put to a stern test this season but this venue should allow him to enjoy the role. He has 21 wickets in 16 IPL matches at the Wankhede, taking 2+ wickets in six matches. From the Kolkata camp, Shreyas Iyer has a score to settle with the bat against CSK. In just two of his 11 previous innings did he manage to score more than 26.