The IPL 2018 opener will be the 23rd time when MI and CSK square off in the tournament, where MI holds 12-10 lead over Dhoni and co.
Mumbai: Time to talk is over…almost. The time to lock horns is here as the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 is set for a blockbuster opener as Mumbai Indians (MI) square off against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the iconic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday.
This will be the 25th time that these two sides will face each other in Twenty20s and 23rd time in the IPL, with MI enjoying 13-11 lead (overall) and 6-4 (overall) in India’s financial capital. MI also hold an edge over CSK, with 12-10 win-loss ratio (5-2 at Wankhede), in their 22 IPL battles.
The Men in Yellow or as some like to call them, the Manchester United of IPL – loved, hated, but hardly-ever ignored – are making a return to cricket’s widely watched domestic T20 league following a two-year suspension due to the spot-fixing saga. CSK will like to make their IPL comeback memorable and win the opening game.
Defending champions, Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, will like to brush aside their tendency of being the late bloomers and losing the first few games. Although there are going to be battles within battles – Ravindra Jadeja vs Hardik Pandya and Dwanye Bravo vs Kieron Pollard, the MI vs CSK encounter will be a battle of cores as the teams have retained their core of players via player retentions and at the auction.
While MI core consists of Rohit, Pandya brothers – Hardik and Krunal –, Jasprit Bumrah, Pollard and Mitchell McClenaghan, CSK have Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Bravo and Murali Vijay.
However, the IPL opener will also be an opportunity to see how the other Jharkhand boy and a possible MS Dhoni successor, playing for MI, Ishan Kishan does. He was India’s captain as they missed out winning the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh a few years ago. While Kishan’s then teammate and explosive wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant made it to Team India before him, Pant’s failure to cash in on the limited opportunities, means a chance for Kishan to raise his credentials and be in contention for a spot in limited-overs squad whenever opportunity arises in the future.
Kishan and the explosive West Indian Evin Lewis at the top with Rohit, Hardik, Pollard, JP Duminy, Krunal, Suryakumar Yadav in the middle, means MI have a powerful batting unit.
The Mukesh Ambani-owned side, meanwhile, will see an end of an era and a beginning of a new bowling order under Bumrah’s leadership as Lasith Malinga will no longer play the event as a bowler and turns mentor while Harbhajan Singh dons Yellow over Blue, which he wore over 10 seasons of IPL.
For CSK, while they will have to do a bit of jugglery at the top with the likes of Sam Billings, Faf, Shane Watson, Murali Vijay and Ambati Rayudu providing enough options for the openers’ slots, their middle-order of Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja and Dwaye Bravo possesses solid skills to counter MI’s bowling attack.
While CSK managed to retain majority of their core, they could not retain R Ashwin. However, the management has roped in Harbhajan, Karn Sharma and Imran Tahir to bolster team’s spin-bowling attack, which also has Jadeja as two pacers from the likes of Mark Wood, Shardul Thakur and Lungi Ngidi will take the field for CSK in IPL 2018 opener.
Predicted playing XIs:
Mumbai Indians: Evin Lewis, Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Rohit Sharma (captain), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Jasprit Bumrah, Mitchell McClenaghan, Akila Dananjaya / Mustafizur Rahman, Rahul Chahar / Pradeep Sangwan.
Chennai Super Kings: Sam Billings/Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Kedar Jadhav, Dwyane Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Karn Sharma, Mark Wood / Lungi Ngidi, Shardul Thakur.
Head to head IPL record:
Games played: 22
Mumbai Indians: 12 wins
Chennai Super Kings: 10 wins
Click here for match predication to win in Dream 11 / Halaplay / My Team 11
The mega two-day Indian Premier 2018 auction is over. Across Saturday and Sunday, the eight franchisees assembled under one roof to rebuild their squad for the upcoming season of the cash-rich IPL.
England allrounder Ben Stokes was the costliest buy while Jaydev Unadkat turned out to be the most expensive India cricketer at the auction.
Here are the squads of the eight teams after the auction:
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS [25 players]
MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo. Karn Sharma, Shane Watson, Shardul Thakur, Ambati Rayudu, Murali Vijay, Harbhajan Singh, Faf Du Plessis, Mark Wood, Sam Billings, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Mitchell Santner, Lungisani Ngidi, Asif K M, N Jagadeesan, Kanishk Seth, Monu Singh, Dhruv Shorey, Kshitiz Sharma, Chaitanya Bishnoi
DELHI DAREDEVILS [25 players]
Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Chris Morris, Glenn Maxwell, Kagiso Rabada, Amit Mishra, Shahbaz Nadeem, Vijay Shankar, Rahul Tewatia, Mohammad Shami, Gautam Gambhir, Trent Boult, Colin Munro, Daniel Christian, Jason Roy, Naman Ojha, Prithvi Shaw, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Avesh Khan, Abhishek Sharma, Jayant Yadav, Harshal Patel, Manjot Kalra, Sandeep Lamichhane, Sayan Ghosh
KINGS XI PUNJAB [21 players]
Axar Patel, KL Rahul, Ravichandran Ashwin, Andrew Tye, Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis, Karun Nair, Mujeeb Zadran, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, David Miller, Mohit Sharma, Barinder Singh Sran, Yuvraj Singh, Christopher Gayle, Ben Dwarshuis, Akshdeep Nath, Manoj Tiwary, Mayank Agarwal, Manzoor Dar, Pardeep Sahu, Mayank Dagar
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS [19 players]
Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Mitchell Starc, Dinesh Karthik, Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Singh Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Mitchell Johnson, Shubman Gill, Ranganath Vinay Kumar, Rinku Singh, Cameron Delport, Javon Searless, Apoorv Vijay Wankhade, Ishank Jaggi
MUMBAI INDIANS [25 players]
Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Pat Cummins, Evin Lewis, Suryakumar Yadav, Ben Cutting, Mustafizur Rahman, Rahul Chahar, Pradeep Sangwan, Jason Behrendorff, Jean-Paul Duminy, Saurabh Tiwary, Tajinder Dhillon, Akila Dhananjaya, Nidheesh M D Dinesan, Aditya Tare, Siddhesh Dinesh Lad, Mayank Markande, Sharad Lumba, Anukul Roy, Mohsin Khan
RAJASTHAN ROYALS [23 players]
Steve Smith, Benjamin Stokes, Jaydev Unadkat, Sanju Samson, Jofra Archer, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jos Buttler, Ajinkya Rahane, Darcy Short, Rahul Tripathi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Zahir Khan Pakteen, Ben Laughlin, Stuart Binny, Dushmantha Chameera, Anureet Singh, Aryaman Vikram Birla, Midhun S, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Jatin Saxena, Ankit Sharma, Mahipal Lomror
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE [24 players]
Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Chris Woakes, Yuzvendra Singh Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Brendon McCullum, Washington Sundar, Navdeep Saini, Quinton De Kock, Mohammed Siraj, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Colin De Grandhomme, M. Ashwin, Parthiv Patel, Moeen Ali, Mandeep Singh, Manan Vohra, Pawan Negi, Tim Southee, Kulwant Khejroliya, Aniket Choudhary, Pavan Deshpande, Anirudha Ashok Joshi
SUNRISERS HYDERABAD [25 players]
David Warner, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Rashid Khan Arman, Shikhar Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha, Siddarth Kaul, Deepak Hooda, Syed Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Kane Williamson, Carlos Brathwaite, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Shreevats Goswami, Mohammad Nabi, Chris Jordan, Basil Thampi, T Natarajan, Sachin Baby, Bipul Sharma, Syed Mehdi Hasan, Ricky Bhui, Tanmay Agarwal
The tour of England comes mid-year and then a trip Down Under before 2018 winds down.
Speculation about Virat Kohli getting married, this week or the next, has had newsrooms across the country in a tizzy. That the Indian captain decided to skip the limited overs series’s against Sri Lanka only fanned the curiosity further.
But even as he takes time out — whether to get married or relax after a hectic playing schedule — Kohli will have to keep his focus alive to the onerous task that awaits him in South Africa, the first of three major teams India face in 2018.
The tour of England comes mid-year and then a trip Down Under before 2018 winds down. India’s record away from the sub-continent remains rather dismal.
This puts India —currently undefeated in nine consecutive series —under great scrutiny.
On the personal front, Kohli is currently the only batsman in the world to average 50+ in ODIs, T20s and Tests. He is also top-ranked by ICC in the first two formats. Should he finish the year as no.1 across all three, he would have shaken up the pecking order in the pantheon of greats.
But for that he will have to excel on all three tours, particularly England, where he flopped in 2014. Some critics aver he is still vulnerable to late swing. Others argue that Kohli today is a vastly different player from three years ago. How he bats will prove one or the other section wrong.
This daunting journey starts in South Africa where the team flies out to just two days after the T20 series against Sri Lanka. And after a two-day warm up match, the first Test begins, leaving little time for acclimatization. This explains why Kohli was critical of the domestic itinerary.
But that’s in the past. What the captain will be preoccupied with now is strategizing how the talent at his disposal (rich, going by current form and results) can be deployed to try and beat the South Africans on their own turf.
The presence of six fast bowlers (including Hardik Pandya) in the squad — and just two specialist spinners — gives an idea not just of the tactics Kohli and the team management are likely to pursue, but also how Indian cricket has evolved.
Clearly, the strategy is to fight the pace fire of the South Africans with their own.
This is revolutionary thinking. Even a decade back pace was never India’s strong suit when playing overseas. Spin was the main bet. In the past few years, there has been a preponderance of fast bowlers.
Competition for places — as in the batting — has also seen a rise in quality. India’s pace attack today can boast of high speed, skill and fine variety.
Whether this is good enough to quell South African batsmen remains to be seen. But there will be enough of the fast and short stuff from the Indian side too for sure: a great psychological boost that teams in the past lacked.
This does not mean spin bowling is devalued. Since pitches in South Africa are likely to assist pace, India are likely to shore up the batting with six specialists.
This leaves only one place open for either Ashwin or Jadeja and whoever plays will have to be in top form. One must feel for young Kuldeep Yadav, unlucky not to find a place. But with opportunity for spinners likely to be severely limited — and Ashwin and Jadeja amongst the wickets — it made more sense to take an extra fast bowler.
Bumrah, rewarded for hard work and sustained improvement, could well be the X factor with his awkward style and sharp skills. Getting veteran Parthiv Patel as reserve wicket-keeper is canny thinking. He revels against the new ball, and can bat at the top or middle order.
Overall, I believe the selection has been excellent, keeping in mind the quality of the opposition and conditions likely to be encountered. But as experience show, while talent is obviously important, self-belief is even more so when playing overseas. For the record, India have never won a Test series in either South Africa or Australia. If this barrier can be broken — even in one of the two series — Indian cricket will have scaled great heights. Kohli faces his most exciting — and stiffest — challenge yet.
Indian Premier League side opposes RR, Chennai Super Kings' player retention plans
With the 2018 IPL auctions still a few months away, there is still a final call to be taken on players’ retention and right-to-match.
New Delhi: The 2018 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is just five months away and the major focus is once again on the high-profile auctions. While many players are set to go under the hammer, there’s still a final call to be taken on policies such as players’ retention and right-to-match.
An all-important IPL Governing Council (GC) meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, where important issues will be discussed. With the return of Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) after a two-year spot-fixing ban, the BCCI will aim to ensure that all eight franchises are on a level-playing field.
However, it’s not going to be easy for the GC as there is a fierce bickering between teams over the matter. One certain franchise is doing all they can to ensure that RR and CSK are not given the right to retain the players they lost during their suspension period, said a Times of India report.
As the squabble continues, the BCCI will ensure that all teams stay on the same level. As of now, most of the teams are in favour of players' retention policy.
If retention is valed, two-time IPL winners CSK would retain key players such as the likes of MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo and few others. This would once again make CSK favourites for the prestigious trophy, and therefore other teams are stern on opposing the retention policy.
Previously in November, a meeting between the team owners and the GC was held to discuss players’ retention, but the two parties couldn’t come to a conclusion. With plenty of confusion buzzing, it is to be seen if there is a new twist in the upcoming auctions.
Almost every time Virat Kohli walks out to bat, he seems to walk away with a record. The latest was on the third day in Nagpur, when he notched up yet another hundred, his fourth in Tests in 2017, and his 10th across formats this year. That makes him the most prolific captain, in terms of scoring hundreds in a calendar year. He went past Ricky Ponting, who made nine in both 2005 and 2006, and Graeme Smith, who made nine in 2005.
Kohli's century here is his 12th as Test captain, which makes him the top centurion among Indian captains already. Sunil Gavaskar had 11 from 47 Tests as captain, but Kohli has already gone past that number in his 31st Test as captain. In ODIs, he is only one behind Sourav Ganguly's record of 11.
Complete coverage: Sri Lanka's tour of India
Kohli's amazing rate of scoring hundreds is also because of his amazing conversion rate. Of the 16 times he has gone past 50 as a captain, he has converted 12 into hundreds, which is easily the best rate among the 18 captains who scored 10 or more Test hundreds. Even Bradman couldn't achieve this rate: he scored 14 hundreds out of the 21 times he passed 50.
The sport's governing body has argued for years that a Test championship is needed to boost the 5-day format's popularity.
Wellington: The International Cricket Council (ICC) is set to approve plans for its long-awaited World Test Championship at a meeting in New Zealand this week, it was reported Monday.
The sport's governing body has argued for years that a Test championship is needed to boost the five-day format's popularity as crowds and television viewers flock to the big-hitting Twenty20 version of the game.
But squabbling over formats and fears that some nations will be disadvantaged have twice stymied efforts to launch a league structure since 2010.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that plans for a nine-nation Test championship were now well advanced and the ICC was set to give the concept a green light on Friday at a meeting in Auckland.
It said the first edition of the competition would run over a two-year cycle beginning in 2019, culminating in a final between the top two teams at Lord's.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said the league competition would give Test series a broader international "context", making them more than stand-alone bilateral contests.
"You're also creating structure in such a way that you no longer have games without meaning. They are all part of a league championship," he told the Herald.
Purists view Test cricket as the pinnacle of the sport but it has struggled, particularly in Asia, as lucrative T20 competitions such as the Indian Premier League have caught the public's imagination.
A recent innovation designed to reverse the trend is the introduction of day-night Test matches, which moves playing sessions to more spectator-friendly hours.
The idea of four-day Test matches has also been floated, although traditionalists oppose the move.
The Herald reported that the ICC will also look at a major shake-up of one-day international fixtures at the Auckland meeting.
It said a 13-nation ODI league was being considered, which would operate on a three-year cycle with results affecting World Cup qualification.
Under the plans, the number of ODIs in a series would be capped at three, ending the lengthy five-match series that are currently part of the international fixture list.
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