CSK vs DC IPL 2021 preview: Pant’s captaincy debut against Dhoni’s yellow army

In the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the only wicketkeeper to lead a side. In 2021, he has the company of three more Indians — Sanju Samson, K.L. Rahul and Rishabh Pant.

When Chennai Super Kings starts its campaign against Delhi Capitals on Saturday, the limelight will be on new captain Pant.

Pant’s brutal onslaught across formats over the last six months has brought India success. He will be hoping to repeat his heroics leading the Delhi Capitals in Shreyas Iyer’s absence.

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Dhoni has an uphill task to revive CSK’s fortune. Had it not been for a hat-trick of wins at the end, powered by a hat-trick of Man of the Match efforts by promising youngster Ruturaj Gaikwad, it would have finished the tournament at the bottom of the table in 2020.

Suresh Raina, whose absence hurt the team in the UAE, has returned while Robin Uthappa’s addition has bolstered its dodgy batting department.

Even after the departure of Shane Watson and Harbhajan Singh, the yellow army has many old guards. It will be interesting to see if Gaikwad and Sam Curran are ready to carry forward the legacy.

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The Super Kings will start afresh on a positive note. On the other hand, the Capitals will not be able to field its best XI in the opening game. The Proteas pace combo of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje will be unavailable as they are serving the mandatory quarantine period.

All-rounder Axar Patel, recovering from COVID-19, will be missing too. The only solace is the return of Amit Mishra to partner the veteran R. Ashwin in the spin department.

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