While the core of the Chennai Superkings remains the same with captain M S Dhoni reprising his role as captain and Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay, Subramaniam Badrinath, Albie Morkel and Ravichandran Ashwin all back in the side, there are some new faces that spell sheer dynamite for the team. How about Tim Southee? The Kiwi fast bowler has had a stellar World Cup, ending up the third-highest wicket-taker with 18 scalps at an average of just over 17. He will be training his guns on all the premier batsmen of the KKR, that's for sure.
CSK has a lot of solid batting in their ranks with local boys Vijay (avg: 28.39, s/r: 128.76) and Badrinath (avg: 27.84, s/r 116.14) sure to bat up the order again and inflict much damage on the KKR field. Then the middle order looks one of the strongest in the tournament on paper with the likes of Scott Styris, Michael Hussey, Dwayne Bravo and Suresh Raina itching to get their pads on.
Meanwhile, in the pace department, Southee has good company in Doug Bollinger, Nuwan Kulasekara, Albie Morlkel, Joginder Sharma, Scott Styris, while R Ashwin and Suraj Randiv are more than equipped to take care of spin.
Kolkata Knightriders looks a relatively weaker side, especially in terms of the batting. But with Gautam Gambhir (avg:28.36 s/r: 121.79), Brad Haddin and Jacques Kallis (no less than the second-highest scorers in IPL'10, avg: 34.70, s/r: 114.40) up the order and Yusuf Pathan and Eoin Morgan to bolster up the middle, the side might just give CSK a run for their money. Furthermore, this new-look KKR side is supposed to mark the end of the unsuccessful Saurav Ganguly era and what better way to do that than begin their campaign with an unlikely win.
Backing them to the hilt will their potent arsenal of pace-bowlers in Brett Lee, Jaidev Unadkat, James Pattison, Lakshmipathy Balaji and the Dutch all-rounder Ryan Ten Doeschate, while their spin needs will be taken care of by Iqbal Abdulla, Shakib Al Hasan and Manohj Tiwary.
So, all in all, a scintillating contest is on the cards. Will CSK prevail and stamp their champions status all over KKR or will the team from Kolkata get the better of their hosts?