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CSK veterans ready to slog out against RCB


Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni and his Royal Challengers Bangalore counterpart Virat Kohli at a practice session ahead of the IPL opener in Chennai. – PTI
 CHENNAI, March 22: They made ‘Dad’s Army’ sound cool last year and defending champions Chennai Super Kings’ battle-hardened veterans are ready to prove that age is just a number when they take on Virat Kohli’s perennial underachievers Royal Challengers Bangalore in Saturday’s opening IPL encounter.

For Virat Kohli, it couldn’t be a bigger statement if his young side could start off with a bang at Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s ‘spritual home’, a task which will be easier said than done. CSK’s core team is the oldest in the tournament – 37-year-olds Dhoni and Shane Watson, 35-year-old Dwayne Bravo, 34-year-old Faf du Plessis, 33-year-olds Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav, soon-to-be 32 Suresh Raina.

Then they have two spinners with truckloads of experience – 39-year-old Imran Tahir and 38-year-old Harbhajan Singh, who have ability to change the complexion of a game with one-off over.

Even the two out-of-favour India players, leg-spinner Karn Sharma (31) and seamer Mohit Sharma (30) are on the wrong side of 30’s.

However, when it comes to match awareness, the CSK players are second to none.

The most consistent franchise of the Indian Premier League, who have always been in the top four, are a formidable side at home with a slow turner and a vocal crowd complementing the quality.

While CSK is a three-time champion, the Bengaluru franchise is probably the biggest underachiever despite boasting of some of the best names in its squad. – PTI

Squads

Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (captain & WK), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, Sam Billings, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Shorey, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Rituraj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Santner, Shardul Thakur, Mohit Sharma, KM Asif, David Willey, Deepak Chahar, N Jagadeesan (wk).

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (captain), AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel (WK), Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Shivam Dube, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj, Heinrich Klaasen (WK), Moeen Ali, Colin de Grandhomme, Pawan Negi, Tim Southee, Akshdeep Nath, Milind Kumar, Devdutt Padikkal, Gurkeerat Singh, Prayas Ray Barman, Kulwant Kejroliya, Navdeep Saini, Himmat Singh.

Match starts at 8 pm

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