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IPL 2023 set to kickoff with blockbuster clash between defending champions Gujarat Titans and four-time winners Chennai Super Kings

Ahmedabad: The 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will kickstart from Friday with a mouth-watering clash of star-studded defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT) and four-time champions Chennai Super Kings here at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad.
The match will be a battle of two generations of Indian cricket. At one side will be CSK skipper MS Dhoni, who took Indian cricket to new heights of success in late 2000s to early 2010s by clinching inaugural ICC T20 World Cup (2007), ICC Cricket World Cup (2011) and ICC Champions Trophy (2013) and became the only skipper to win these three major titles. Dhoni replicated this success in IPL, leading the team to the title on four occassions. On the other side is GT skipper Hardik Pandya, who was pushed into superstardom after leading GT to the title in their debut season. Pandya has also led India to some wins at the international level in shorter format and is making a case for himself as a future white-ball skipper. Hardik Pandya-led Gujarat Titans will be facing a huge weight of expectations after clinching the title in their debut season. To prove that their title win was not a fluke, they would have to start this season well against the four-time champions Chennai Super Kings.

With opener Shubman Gill in terrific form at international level, he will have to provide quick, intent-filled start to his team. With skipper Pandya in form, he will play a big role with both bat and ball. GT has a lot of firepower in their middle order and batters who can hit big, like Matthew Wade, Rahul Tewatia and Srikar Bharat. With the acquisition of Kane Williamson, a former Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper, they have an extremely capable anchor who can hold the inning together while other send the ball into skies with freedom.
All-rounders like Rashid Khan, Odean Smith, Tewatia, Abhinav Manohar, Pandya and Vijay Shankar provide GT with a lot of depth and variety of options with both bat and ball.
GT has a solid bowling unit as well. Mohammed Shami and Alzarri Joseph are wicket-taking bowlers, capable of leading the attack by themselves. Ireland pacer Joshua Little, who was brought by GT after an impressive ICC T20 World Cup 2022 campaign, which saw him take 11 wickets and a hat-trick, will be a bowler everyone will have their eyes on. Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore is also a capable spin bowler, who can be a threat. His T20 economy rate of 5.48 and 57 wickets in the format make him a bowler to watch out for as well. Yash Dayal, who took an impressive 11 wickets in nine matches last season, will be aiming to pick up from where he left last year.
CSK is just as star-studded. The team has a rock-solid opening combination of ever-consistent Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad. Conway's reliability and consistency makes him the perfect partner for Gaikwad, giving the latter freedom to espress himself.
Veterans like Ambati Rayadu and Ajinkya Rahane can play the role of anchoring or attacking, as per the situation.
But what makes CSK a truly dangerous side is the presence of world-class all-rounders like Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Ravindra Jadeja. They are capable to playing whatever role is assigned to them, be it in bowling or batting. Batting up the order, power-hitting, taking crucial wickets, this trio can do it all!
CSK has just as much depth as CSK with the presence of aforementioned all-rounders. The presence of bowling all-rounders like Dwaine Pretorius, Deepak Chahar and Mitchell Santner is a bonus.
The four-time champions also have a great bowling attack, boosted by the presence of aforementioned all-rounders. However, the side is left without a left-arm seamer. Mukesh Choudhary has been ruled out of the tournament due to an injury. Akash Singh, who represented India in 2020 U-19 World Cup, has replaced the bowler.
But before the cricketing action, there will be some music to celebrate one of the biggest festivals of cricket. An opening ceremony will take place to entertain the crowd.

This ceremony is all set to be an unforgettable night with three headlining acts that will dazzle the audience with their incredible performances. Opening the show will be a jaw-dropping performance by Arijit Singh and his troupe, enthralling the audience with his vocal acrobatics.
South Indian cinema and music have broken world records and gained international recognition, showcasing their phenomenal talent on a global platform. To build on this success, the team have decided to celebrate them, using the mega platform of the Tata IPL, featuring two of India's most popular stars and youth icons - Rashmika Mandanna and Tamannaah Bhatia. These talented performers will set the stage ablaze with their incredible dance performances, dazzling audiences with their moves.
"The TATA IPL 2023 is running for its 16th season, and we expect renewed rigour and zest in both players and cricket fans from across the nation. As such, we devised a show that would enthral audiences, combining technology with jaw-dropping performances that will surely be an unforgettable experience for all those in attendance! We have invited a line-up of incredible performers to create a symphony of music and dance that is sure to leave the audience in awe, paired with the IPL's first-ever drone show that will light up the night sky, creating spectacular 3D formations above the Narendra Modi Stadium", said Chanda Singh, Director, TCM Platform and CEO, XP&D to ANI.
"This is the 16th edition of the IPL so there's a lot to live up to when it comes to bringing something new to the table. Of course we've brought in an incredible line-up of talented people, but we've also brought something brand new to the table. For the first time in IPL history, we've brought in 1,500 drones to create an awe-inspiring spectacle above the stadium!," added Chanda.
GT Squad: Abhinav Manohar, Shubman Gill, Kane Williamson, Hardik Pandya(c), Rahul Tewatia, Matthew Wade(w), Rashid Khan, Shivam Mavi, Alzarri Joseph, Mohammed Shami, Yash Dayal, Srikar Bharat, Wriddhiman Saha, Sai Sudharsan, Urvil Patel, Vijay Shankar, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Odean Smith, Jayant Yadav, Joshua Little, Darshan Nalkande, Noor Ahmad, Mohit Sharma, Pradeep Sangwan
CSK Squad: Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ambati Rayudu, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni(w/c), Dwaine Pretorius, Deepak Chahar, Simarjeet Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Subhranshu Senapati, Shaik Rasheed, Nishant Sindhu, Mitchell Santner, Bhagath Varma, Tushar Deshpande, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Ajay Jadav Mandal, Prashant Solanki, Akash Singh. (ANI)

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