Both franchises now have a new skipper. MS Dhoni recently handed over the mantle of leadership to all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. On the other hand, KKR picked Shreyas Iyer at the auction for Rs 12.25 crore and named his as their captain. There is some personnel change as well, particularly for KKR. As has been the norm with CSK, they have bought back a number of their star players, including Dwayne Bravo and Ambati Rayudu.
The big news from the CSK camp is that pacer Deepak Chahar will be unavailable for at least half of the IPL due to injury. This is a massive setback to Chennai’s title defence plans. Also, with no Faf du Plessis, CSK will have a new opening partner for the prolific Ruturaj Gaikwad. New Zealand’s Devon Conway is likely to be the other opener. In the bowling, they could go for Dwayne Bravo, Maheesh Theekshana and Adam Milne. Also, Moeen Ali will be unavailable for Game 1 due to visa delay issues.
CSK predicted XI: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devon Conway, Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja (c), MS Dhoni (wk), Shivam Dube, Dwayne Bravo, Tushar Deshpande, Maheesh Theekshana, Adam Milne
KKR also will have a new opening combination. With Shubman Gill moving to the Gujarat Titans, Venkatesh Iyer is likely to open with Ajinkya Rahane. Nitish Rana and Andre Russell remain their key players. In the bowling, Umesh Yadav should play with Pat Cummins and Tim Southee unavailable. The spin department will be managed by mystery men Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy.
KKR Predicted: Venkatesh Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane, Nitish Rana, Shreyas Iyer (c), Sam Billings (wk), Andre Russell, Mohammad Nabi, Sunil Narine, Shivam Mavi, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy
Top fantasy picks for CSK vs KKR clash: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Venkatesh Iyer, Shreyas Iyer, Sunil Narine
--Renin Wilben Albert