Defending champions Chennai Super Kings will face off against Royal Challengers Bangalore today in the opening fixture of VIVO IPL 2019, reports iplt20.com.
The side put together by CSK last season was dubbed by a few as ‘Army of Oldies’; however, the players justified the adage ‘age is just a number’ as CSK clinched the title upon their return to the league after a two-year suspension. MS Dhoni’s side won 9 of their 14 league matches – this despite having to shift base to Pune, sailed straight to the final by winning the first playoff, and then turned in a dominant performance in the title clash to clinch their third IPL title.The franchise has retained the bulk of the squad that did duty for them last season. They have given themselves a couple more options by acquiring the services of Mohit Sharma (former India pacer) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (Maharashtra opening batsman) in the IPL Player Auction 2019.
The title holders were dealt a lethal blow days prior to their opening match when South African pacer Lungi Ngidi was ruled out of the season with a side strain. It will be interesting to see if the team management replaces him with David Willey or if they tinker around with the line-up.
RCB had a disappointing season in 2018. The franchise won just 6 of their 14 league matches and finished sixth in the eight team standings. Virat Kohli’s team won only 3 of their first 10 matches and were therefore always playing catch up. Heading into their last league match, they were still in with a chance of progressing to the Playoffs; but Rajasthan Royals emerged victors in that match and qualified as the fourth qualifier.
RCB have retained 15 players from their 2018 squad and acquired the services of nine more players at the IPL Player Auction 2019. Shimron Hetmyer, Shivam Dube and Heinrich Klaasen are among the exciting new signings. They will be handicapped at the start of the season with Marcus Stoinis and Nathan Coulter-Nile missing out the first few games because of international commitments.