GT vs CSK, IPL 2023: Who is favourite to win MS Dhoni-Hardik Pandya's master-disciple battle and why

Mar 31, 2023 04:10 PM IST

Defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT) are favourites to win the IPL 2023 opener against four-time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Here's why.

The 16th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2023) is scheduled to begin Friday and the season opener will see defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT) lock horns with four-time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. It promises to be a mouth-watering contest with GT looking to pick up from where they left off last season and get their campaign off to the perfect start with a win against the MS Dhoni-led team, who themselves would be eager to put their disappointing 2022 campaign behind them and start afresh.

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper MS Dhoni, Gujarat Titans skipper Hardik Pandya (IPL Twitter)
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper MS Dhoni, Gujarat Titans skipper Hardik Pandya (IPL Twitter)

CSK had a rough season last year, finishing ninth in the standings. The Super Kings had their worst league showing ever with four victories and 10 defeats in 14 matches. With this quite possibly being Dhoni’s final season, CSK would be eager to give a winning farewell to 'Thala' and grab the record-equalling fifth title. On the other hand, having made a strong statement with their breakthrough performance in their debut season, Gujarat will have added pressure on their shoulders to replicate their successful outing this season.

IPL 2023 Opening Ceremony Live Updates

In the mini-auction, Chennai roped in swashbuckling English all-rounder Ben Stokes as their marquee signing. Whereas, Gujarat added to their title-winning squad by bringing in the likes of Kane Williamson, Shivam Mavi, KS Bharat, Josh Little and Odean Smith.

Both GT and CSK will be without a few key players. South Africans David Miller (GT) and Sisanda Magala (CSK), along with Sri Lankans Maheesh Theekshana (CSK) and Matheesha Pathirana (CSK), are on international duty and will play no part in the season opener.

Both sides have a good mix of exuberance and experience in their line-ups, with GT being able to call upon the likes of Shubhman Gill, Skipper Hardik Pandya, new recruit Kane Williamson, Mohammed Shami and West Indian quick Alzarri Joseph. CSK will look to Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devon Conway, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Ravindra Jadeja and Deepak Chahar to make their season a memorable one.

GT vs CSK Live Score, IPL 2023

The bowling is where the team’s similarities end. The defending champions have Shivam Mavi, Yash Dayal, Pradeep Sangwan and Josh Little to support Shami and Joseph. The skipper is also in form and fit to bowl.

In comparison, CSK have a few uncapped Indian Bowlers and Dwaine Pretorius to support the fit-again Deepak Chahar. Mukesh Choudhary has been ruled out of the season due to an injury. He has been replaced by Akash Singh.

Gujarat Titans won both the encounters between the teams last season coupled with the fact that MS Dhoni is still an injury doubt even though the CSK CEO has stated that Dhoni will play, and a weakened CSK bowling attack makes the defending champions the clear favourites for the season opener.

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