IPL 2023, GT vs CSK: Decoding the key player battles
Defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT) will host four-time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) opener. As both camps are studded with T20 stalwarts, an enthralling contest is on the cards. Notably, the two sides experienced contrasting campaigns last season as GT tasted glory while CSK finished second last. Here are the player battles that can be on display.
Mohammed Shami vs Ruturaj Gaikwad
As Ruturaj Gaikwad opens the batting for CSK and Mohammed Shami starts the proceedings for GT, the two are certain to cross swords in the powerplay. Though Shami hasn't dismissed Gaikwad even once in five IPL meetings, the latter has a paltry strike rate of 71.15 in this battle. Moreover, Shami's tally of 11 powerplay wickets was the joint-highest last season.
Rashid Khan vs Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes will be a vital cog of CSK's batting line-up and he'll have the onus to score significant runs in the middle overs. However, Rashid Khan, who has dismissed the southpaw three times in six T20 meetings, can dent his plans. Overall, Stokes has fallen prey to leg-spinners 16 times in 35 T20 meetings (Batting SR: 133.99). These numbers would encourage Rashid.
Shubman Gill vs Deepak Chahar
Despite missing the last season entirely, Deepak Chahar owns the most powerplay wickets since IPL 2018 (44). This speaks volumes of his prowess with the new ball. He has also dismissed Shubman Gill twice in six IPL meetings (Batting SR: 136.39). Though the batter has been in sublime form lately, he must be watchful against Chahar in the powerplay.
Hardik Pandya vs Ravindra Jadeja
Two of India's premier all-rounders, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja will look to dominate each other. Pandya's battle against Jadeja's left-arm spin will be of greater significance as the latter was the backbone of GT's middle-order last season. Jadeja has dismissed Pandya just once in three IPL meetings. Overall, Pandya has fallen prey to left-arm spinners eight times in 42 meetings in T20 cricket.
Pitch report, timing, and broadcast details
Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium will host the duel on March 31. The track here offers assistance to spinners. However, the quick outfield gives the batters good returns for their shots. The toss-winning skipper would want to chase due to the dew factor. While Star Sports Network would provide the live telecast (7:30 PM IST), Viacom18 and JioCinema hold the streaming rights.