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IPL 4 kicks off today, CSK to meet KKR

cricket Updated: Apr 08, 2011 14:55 IST
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It will be a classic case of 'friends turning into foes' when Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings (CSK) clash with Gautam Gambhir led Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the opening match of the IPL on Friday, less than a week after the duo guided India to their historic World Cup triumph in Mumbai.

As the cash-rich Twenty20 cricketing extravaganza gets underway at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, it will be the beginning of new era sans Lalit Modi, who was the face of the event during the earlier editions.

Also this will be the first time that the league will feature 10 teams with the inclusion of Pune Warriors and Kochi Tuskers Kerala.

It will be there for all to see how the BCCI organises an event where Modi used to have a final say in every aspect.

The former IPL commissioner and vice-president of BCCI has since then been suspended and now has taken refuge in London after the cricket board pressed numerous charges of corruption against him.

After a hugely successful Players' Auction which saw some of the young Indian players commanding astronomical prices, the Chirayu Amin-led IPL governing council will now look to capitalise on India's World Cup triumph which has definitely upped the stakes by manifold.

Coming back to tournament, defending champions CSK will certainly start as the overwhelming favourites against a team that hasn't been able to cash in on its enormous fan following across India, thanks to its principal owner Shah Rukh Khan.

After having failed to make it to the semi-finals during the last three editions, the KKR management led SRK and co-owner Jay Mehta have gone for a revamped side with Gautam Gambhir at the helm and T20 specialist Yusuf Pathan as one of the marquee players.

With Kolkata's favourite son Sourav Ganguly no longer a part of the team, it will be a big challenge for Gambhir and his boys to start winning and get the cricket crazy Kolkatans rooting for them.

The bigger challenge will be to get past CSK who have inarguably been the most consistent team during the last three editions with one championship, one runners-up and a last four finish. The biggest strength for CSK has been their ability to retain the most of their core players save Muttiah Muralitharan who will don the Kochi jersey.