The much-awaited Indian Premier League 2023 is finally here. The supreme T20 league in the world will kickstart with the defending champions Gujarat Titans taking on the team with the highest win-rate in the league - Chennai Super Kings!
Gujarat surprised everyone last season and won the title thanks to the team effort and key contributions from Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, David Miller, Hardik Pandya and Shubman Gill. Gujarat looks solid as a team with Hardik bowling consistently well with the new ball and Shubman dominating white-ball cricket in past few months.
Rashid Khan, David Miller, Alzarri Joseph and Mohammad Shami have been consistent as well. The additions of Kane Williamson and Joshua Little further strengthens the squad. The only concern for them is replicating those close wins that they had in the last season as 2-4 points will hold a lot of value in a tournament as competitive as the IPL. Gujarat has a good balance with both bat and ball and they can use the impact player rule to their favour with the likes of Abhinav Manohar and Shivam Mavi/Darshan Nalkande.
The Chennai boys are back on Indian soil and will look to blow some whistles in the opening game but do they have the resources? They are coming off a very disappointing season in 2022 and Dhoni and his men will look to turn things around in this season. The biggest positive for them is the tournament being back to its original “home” and “away” format. CSK has an army of spinners and Thala will look to unleash them at their fortress - Chepauk.
Ben Stokes is a big addition to the CSK squad ahead of the tournament and it will be interesting to see how he goes in IPL 2023. Batting is their strength with Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, Ben Stokes and Shivam Dube available. They brought in Ajinkya Rahane and he might open the innings for them. Deepak Chahar is back but Mukesh Choudhary’s injury balances things for them.
Chennai’s biggest concerns are the form of players like Ambati Rayudu, Shivam Dube and Ajinkya Rahane and their pace attack outside Chepauk, especially in the death overs. They don’t have good death bowling for good batting tracks. Stokes won’t bowl as much as he used to and Dwaine Pretorius has been a little inconsistent in that phase. It will be interesting to see how the 4-time champions will go with their business in the first game.
Chennai: Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ben Stokes, Ambati Rayudu, Moeen Ali, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwaine Pretorius, Deepak Chahar, Rajvardhan Hangargekar/Prashant Solanki, Simarjeet Singh
Gujarat: Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Shubman Gill, Kane Williamson, Hardik Pandya, Matthew Wade, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Alzarri Joseph, R Sai Kishore, Mohammad Shami, Yash Dayal/Shivam Mavi
Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad
The pitch at Ahmedabad is a balanced one. There will be some help for the pacers in the power play and spinners will get some assistance as well. Batting will get easier as the game progresses so teams will prefer chasing.
Total Matches: 19
Won Batting 1st: 8
Won Batting 2nd: 10
Average 1st Innings Score: 154 runs
Average 1st Innings Score: 151 runs
Head to Head
Gujarat has won both the games while chasing.
Moeen vs Rashid: 52 off 32 balls (3 dismissals)
Stokes vs Hardik: 7 off 6 balls (2 dismissals)
Stokes vs Shami: 14 off 12 balls (2 dismissals)
Stokes vs Rashid: 11 off 18 balls (2 dismissals)
Stokes vs Jadeja: 44 of 23 balls (no dismissals)
Dhoni vs Shami: 36 off 20 balls (1 dismissal)
Key Players and Fantasy Picks
Hardik Pandya will be the main player for his team. He is looking fit and is bowling consistently. He had a stellar season in 2022 where he scored 487 runs in 15 innings at an average of 44.3 at a strike rate of 131.3. Hardik picked up 8 wickets as well. Pandya will bat at number 4 and bowl 3-4 overs consistently. Top captaincy pick for this game.
I don’t need to describe why Rashid Khan is a key player for Gujarat and an excellent fantasy pick in this game. He’s the best bowler in T20 cricket and is capable with the bat as well. Rashid is a proven performer and a true match-winner. He had 19 wickets to his name in IPL 2022.
Shubman Gill has scored 400+ runs in the last three seasons of the Indian Premier League. He is an excellent batter, a potential superstar in Indian cricket and he has shown glimpses of that in the last few months across formats. Gill will open the innings for GT. He can score big once he gets going. A good C/VC choice in fantasy cricket.
Ravindra Jadeja had a forgettable season in 2022 but now he’s back with CSK and will be eager to go on the field and win games for the Super Kings. Jadeja has an excellent Border Gavaskar Trophy 2023 and he was decent in the ODIs as well. Jadeja has been a match-winner for CSK with both bat and ball.
Ruturaj Gaikwad had a poor season in 2022 after he won the orange cap in IPL 2021. He scored 368 runs at an average of 26.3 and his strike rate was 126.5. We all know how capable he is on his day. Gaikwad will be a key batter for Chennai as he needs to give good starts to the team. There is a slight chance of him batting at 3 but most probably he’ll open the innings. Gaikwad can score big if he can negate the movement in the power play.
Ben Stokes will not bowl in this game and no one knows where he’ll bat in this CSK eleven. But one thing is sure he’ll be a very important player for the men in yellow despite him being playing as a specialist batter. Stokes can win games on his own and he’ll look to do well on his return to the Indian Premier League.
Other Picks: Don’t forget the likes of Ambati Rayudu, Mohammad Shami, Moeen Ali and Alzarri Joseph as they all are very important players for their respective teams.
Differential Picks for Fantasy Cricket: Dwaine Pretorius, Shivam Dube (if he plays), Wriddhiman Saha, Ajinkya Rahane (if he plays), Yash Dayal.
Disclaimer: We don’t guarantee to win in fantasy cricket. Users are requested to create their own combinations using the tips and numbers provided.