Hardik Pandya-led defending champions Gujarat Titans won the toss and opted to bowl first against MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings in the first game of the Indian Premier League 2023 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Friday.
Despite reports that MS Dhoni may not be fit for the opener, the Chennai Super Kings captain turned up for the toss and pre-tournament ceremonies and will feature in the first game.
It was reported by the Indian Express on Friday that the CSK captain had been struggling with a niggle in his left knee and was unlikely to take the field. But the PTI later reported he could be alright to start the season-opener quoting CSK CEO.
Talking about his decision to bowl first, Pandya said, “It’s always good to play here. It’s a new start, new season and quite exciting.”
Meanwhile, Dhoni, who was also looking to bowl first said, “You want to play in front of people. This stadium is twice the capacity of other stadiums. Fantastic atmosphere. Preparation was good. We assembled quite early.”
Talking about the new impact player rule, the former India captain said, “It’s a luxury to have the impact player rule. It becomes slightly easy to take the decision because you can use it at any time. Influence of the allrounder has become slightly less because of the rule.”
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While Joshua Little was handed a debut by Gujarat Titans, making him the first active Irish player to play in the IPL, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, part of India’s U-19 World Cup winning squad in 2022, was handed a debut by Chennai Super Kings.
Gujarat Titans Playing XI: Wriddhiman Saha(w), Shubman Gill, Kane Williamson, Hardik Pandya(c), Vijay Shankar, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Mohammed Shami, Joshua Little, Yash Dayal, Alzarri Joseph
Substitutes: B Sai Sudharsan, Jayant Yadav, Mohit Sharma, Abhinav Manohar, KS Bharat
Chennai Super Kings Playing XI: Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ben Stokes, Ambati Rayudu, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, MS Dhoni(w/c), Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner, Deepak Chahar, Rajvardhan Hangargekar
Substitutes: Tushar Deshpande, Subhranshu Senapati, Shaik Rasheed, Ajinkya Rahane, Nishant Sindhu