Image Source - Twitter

IPL 2022 – Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders – Players to Watch

On March 26, the defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will face Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at Mumbai’s iconic Wankhede Stadium. It goes without saying that the matchup between the previous edition’s finalists will be exciting as both franchises have been hugely successful.

While CSK will be led by MS Dhoni, KKR has chosen Shreyas Iyer for a whopping INR 12.25 crore. In the cash-rich league, CSK has dominated KKR, winning 16 times, whereas KKR has only won eight times. During the 2009 season, both teams had one match abandoned.

For the 2022 edition, CSK kept MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, and Ruturaj Gaikwad. Also on the team: Andre Russell, Varun Chakravarthy, Venkatesh Iyer. But both teams have built formidable sides for the future. Players will be eager to impress in the season opener.

In this article, we are going to talk about the players to watch from both teams.

Number 1. Ruturaj Gaikwad

The current Orange Cap holder has established himself as one of the league’s most recognizable faces. Ruturaj Gaikwad scored 635 runs at a strike rate of 45.35 in 16 matches, including an unbeaten 101 against Rajasthan Royals.

 

Image Source – Twitter

 

Gaikwad can revert to his lethal form at the iconic Wankhede Stadium, where the batters’ surface is favorable. Gaikwad will have to work with a new opener this season in the absence of Faf du Plessis, as the Chennai franchise will be hoping he can replicate his form from the previous edition.

Number 2. Ravindra Jadeja

Cricket pundits see Ravindra Jadeja as the franchise’s future captain. MS Dhoni voluntarily accepted a pay cut to promote him due to his stature in the team. Jadeja, popularly referred to as ‘Sir,’ was a critical cog in CSK’s title triumph last season.

 

Image Source – Twitter

 

In the previous season, Jadeja scored 227 runs at an average of 75.66 and a strike rate of 145.51 while taking 13 wickets in 16 matches. His most memorable performance came against purple cap holder Harshal Patel, when Jadeja went berserk and scored 37 runs in an over during a league stage match against RCB, with the 14th over readings being 6, 6, 6 (no ball), 6 (free-hit), 6 and 4.

Jadeja’s recent form has propelled him to the top of the Test all-rounder rankings, and the CSK star batsman can take advantage of KKR’s bowling attack. Jadeja’s fielding ability distinguishes him as a three-dimensional player, and he relishes the opportunity to make an impact on the game. That may be one of the reasons he is capable of bringing his A-game from the start.

Number 3. Shreyas Iyer

Shreyas Iyer, the newly appointed captain of Kolkata Knight Riders, was one of the most expensive players in this year’s IPL mega auction. His recent performances for the national team attested to his ability, and the Galaxy of Knights will look to him to set the tone.

 

Image Source – Twitter

 

He was named Player of the Series in the recently concluded three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka, owing to his back-to-back blistering fifties. Iyer is a Mumbai native who is intimately familiar with Wankhede Stadium, which may be one of the reasons he will be at his best from the start.

He is most likely to bat at No. 3, his preferred position. There is little doubt about Iyer’s abilities, and he has a golden opportunity to establish his authority as skipper and batter in the first game by making an impact.

Number 4. Venkatesh Iyer

Venkatesh Iyer was one of the franchise’s takeaways last season. His contribution was as critical as anyone else in helping the franchise reach the finals, and the lanky all-rounder has never looked back since.

 

Image Source – Twitter

 

Iyer shot to prominence during the second phase of the IPL 2021, scoring 370 runs in ten matches at an average of 41.11, including three fifties. His ability to smash massive sixes, pick vital wickets, and take spectacular catches distinguishes him as a versatile player.

Iyer’s all-around performance convinced KKR to retain the young Madhya Pradesh all-rounder. Iyer’s tournament performance will be critical to the franchise’s success in the cash-rich league.