CSK eye revival, GT aim to begin title defence on bright note in IPL 2023 opener


The message of ‘Aava De’ (let it come) seems to be loud and clear from defending champions Gujarat Titans’ home turf—the Narendra Modi Stadium—as they take on four-time winners Chennai Super Kings (CSK) today in the IPL 2023 opener.

Heavy showers hit A’bad

Twenty-four hours before the IPL trumpet started to blow, a heavy shower sent the CSK team scurrying for cover and forced them to curtail their first ever outing at this imposing 132,000-capacity stadium. The weather forecast, however, for Friday is sunny.

Gujarat Titans’ Director of Cricket Vikram Solanki and CSK’s Ajinkya Rahane on impact player rule

After four years, IPL returns to the home and away format. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the T20 tournament was held in UAE twice in 2020 and 2021. Last year, the league phase of the tournament was held at four venues in Mumbai and Pune while the final was in Ahmedabad, where Gujarat Titans won, beating Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets.

This time, the most successful franchise tournament will be played with a new rule of an impact player. There’s another change where captains can hand over the team sheet after the toss.

The rule will let a team bring in an impact player at any point in the innings to replace a player from the playing XI after the toss. The tournament rules allow only four overseas players in a team. Therefore, if four overseas players are in the starting XI then only an Indian player can come in as an impact player.

Also Read: IPL 2023: Schedule, venues, format and other frequently asked questions

With this condition, more teams may opt to play three overseas players in a starting XI to keep an option open of using an overseas player as an impact player.

Gujarat Titans’ Director of Cricket Vikram Solanki dodged a question on the number of overseas players in their starting XI for the opener against CSK. With David Miller not available for Friday’s match, the home team are more likely to go in with three overseas players. “You will know that tomorrow,” Solanki said with a chuckle during a media interaction.

He sidestepped talk of home (and pitch) advantage by saying that the 22-yard strip is the same for both teams. “There’s too much made about pitches these days. l think you got two teams that play on whatever surface provided, you got to make decisions based on whatever conditions are available. Whichever team assess the conditions and play better,  will come out on top,” he reckoned.

In familiar territory 

Having captained Mumbai in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, newly-recruited CSK star Ajinkya Rahane has had the experience of the impact player rule. “Every team are in the game till the last ball. Basically, you are playing with 12 players and no team are out of equation,” Rahane said.

Hardik Pandya’s Titans are ready for any challenge thrown at them to prove that their success on debut last year was not a flash in a pan.

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