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Kagiso Rabada, Adam Zampa and other players who are set to miss their teams' first IPL game

Not all eight teams have all the players at their disposal ahead of their respective opening games this season

Vishal Dikshit
Vishal Dikshit
Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje will miss the Delhi Capitals' opener against Chennai Super Kings  •  BCCI

Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje will miss the Delhi Capitals' opener against Chennai Super Kings  •  BCCI

The 14th edition of the IPL is set to kick off on Friday in Chennai but not all eight teams have all the players at their disposal. A few tested positive for Covid-19, and some arrived only earlier this week in India after finishing their national duties. With a mandatory seven-day quarantine that players have to serve before joining their team's bubble, we look at the names each team will be missing for their first game at least.

Delhi Capitals

Who will miss the opening game? Fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, who played crucial roles in the Capitals' march to the IPL final last year with 52 wickets between them, landed in Mumbai on April 6 to join the team. With the IPL SOPs requiring players to quarantine for a week after arrival, they will miss the opening fixture against the Chennai Super Kings on April 10 at Wankhede Stadium. They are, however, likely to play in the Capitals' next game on April 15 against the Rajasthan Royals.
Allrounder Axar Patel, who had tested positive for Covid-19 after checking into the team hotel on March 28, could also miss the Capitals' opener if he doesn't return two negative reports by April 10. Any player who tests positive needs to first isolate for at least 10 days, and then have two negative reports before joining the team. That could be cutting it too close for Patel.
Who can replace them in the XI? The absence of two premier overseas fast bowlers means the Capitals can pick three out of Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Chris Woakes and Tom Curran, with R Ashwin as the lead spinner.
If Patel isn't available as well, they can even bat Ashwin at No. 7, Curran at 8, followed by two more quicks and Amit Mishra as the second spinner.

Royal Challengers Bangalore

Who will miss the opening game? Legspinner Adam Zampa will miss the tournament opener against Mumbai because of his marriage. The Royal Challengers will be hopeful he will be ready for their second game on April 12, against the Rajasthan Royals.
New Zealand opener Finn Allen, who recently struck a destructive 29-ball 71 against Bangladesh, is also set to miss the opener against Mumbai because the match he scored that half-century in was played on April 1 in Auckland, and the seven-day quarantine won't end in time for his team's first game.
The Royal Challengers will also be without Australia allrounder Daniel Sams, who tested positive for Covid-19 on April 7. The IPL's rule of isolating a player for 10 days after he tests positive means Sams is likely to miss the match against the Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 14 as well.
Who can replace them in the XI? The absence of both Allen and Zampa may not hurt the Royal Challengers much for one game because Devdutt Padikkal, who has now joined the squad after recovering from Covid-19, and Virat Kohli are expected to open the batting and they can play Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal as the two spinners.

Chennai Super Kings

Who will miss the opening game? Fast bowler Lungi Ngidi won't be available for the Super Kings' opening game against the Capitals on April 10 because of the seven-day quarantine. Ngidi, like Rabada and Nortje, had played in the first two ODIs against Pakistan in South Africa until April 4 but he should be available for the Super Kings' second game, on April 16 against the Punjab Kings.
Who can replace him in the XI? Ngidi's absence for one game is unlikely to upset the Super Kings' combination. With all their other players expected to be available, they can slot in allrounders Sam Curran and Dwayne Bravo at Nos. 7 and 8, followed by Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar and Imran Tahir. Moeen Ali or Faf du Plessis can be the fourth overseas player at the top of the order.

Mumbai Indians

Who will miss the opening game? Two overseas players who arrived only this week for the defending champions are going to be unavailable for Friday's match: Quinton de Kock and Adam Milne. They both will serve the mandatory seven-day quarantine in their hotel rooms, which means Mumbai will mainly have to decide who opens in place of de Kock.
Who can replace them in the XI? In the absence of de Kock, Ishan Kishan can keep wicket and Mumbai can either slot in Chris Lynn at the top of the order or play allrounder James Neesham if they want another bowling option.
Milne's absence for one game is unlikely to hurt Mumbai. Nathan Coulter-Nile, whom Mumbai bought again at the recent auction after releasing him a few months ago, will be perfect for the No. 8 spot with his batting advantage, and to bowl with Trent Boult in the powerplay.

Rajasthan Royals

Who will miss the first few games? Fast bowler Jofra Archer's absence for the Royals' first four games will be the biggest blow for them. Archer underwent surgery on his finger in the last week of March in England and he would be undergoing two weeks of rehabilitation before he is reviewed by a consultant and can start training again.
It means Archer won't feature in their first four games, to be played on April 12, 15, 19 and 22. The Royals' fifth match is on April 24 before they move from Mumbai to Delhi but it's unclear yet if Archer will be available by then or not.
Who can replace him in the XI? Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Chris Morris are expected to be the automatic three overseas picks for the Royals. In place of Archer, they can either play Mustafizur Rahman or Andrew Tye.

Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo