MS Dhoni Ravindra Jadeja
vs Shreyas Iyer
. Two new captains will kick off IPL 2022, in a rematch of the IPL 2021 final, at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday. The only
time Dhoni has represented Super Kings strictly as a player was in 2012, in a dead-rubber Champions League T20 game against Yorkshire
. A decade later, Super Kings will start preparing for life after Dhoni although a statement from the franchise said he would continue to represent Super Kings as a player this season and "beyond."
Jadeja's immediate challenge is plug the holes created by the absence of first-choice players Deepak Chahar (injured) and Moeen Ali (unavailable following visa issues
). Iyer, too, will have to contend with the absence of Alex Hales and his replacement Aaron Finch, who is not available
for the early part of the tournament. Iyer has vowed
to follow Knight Riders' attack-first approach, which saw them surge into the final in 2021 despite a horror start to that season.
Moeen has arrived in India and will be available for Super Kings' second game, against Lucknow Super Giants on March 31, after undergoing quarantine for three days. In the absence of Moeen, New Zealand batter Devon Conway
is likely to make his IPL debut. Head coach Stephen Fleming had previously worked with Conway when he was part of New Zealand's preparatory camp
for the 2021 T20 World Cup.
Tim Southee, who got married earlier this week and joined the IPL bubble late, will miss Saturday's game. In his absence, Knight Riders could pick Sri Lanka's Chamika Karunaratne or an extra Indian seamer.
Chennai Super Kings: 1 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 2 Robin Uthappa, 3 Devon Conway, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 Ravindra Jadeja (capt), 6 Shivam Dube, 7 MS Dhoni (wk), 8 Dwayne Bravo, 9 Rajvardhan Hangargekar, 10 Chris Jordan/Maheesh Theekshana, 11 Adam Milne
Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Venkatesh Iyer, 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Shreyas Iyer (capt), 4 Nitish Rana, 5 Sam Billings (wk), 6 Andre Russell, 7 Sunil Narine, 8 Chamika Karunaratne, 9 Shivam Mavi 10 Varun Chakravarthy, 11 Umesh Yadav/Rasikh Salam Dar
There is a case for Super Kings to use Conway as a floater in the middle order to counter Knight Riders' mystery spinners, who have strong records against most of the Super Kings batters. In the T20 World Cup game against Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi, Conway threw both Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi, who is now part of KKR, off their lines and lengths with a variety of sweeps
, including the reverse-hit. In all T20 cricket, Conway averages 61.63 and strikes at 134.65 against spin
. Against pace, the average drops to 37.40 and strike rate to 126.15