MS Dhoni Comes Up With No Surprise While GT Use Their Wild-Card

image-li0bomrqHardik Pandya as a captain of GT (AP Photo)

It is time for the Qualifier 1 of IPL 2023 and after gruelling 70 league games and with plenty of ups and downs along the way, we have CSK up against GT in Qualifier 1 as both teams try to book a straight flight to Ahmedabad for the grand-finale of the 16th edition of the IPL. Hardik Pandya though has made a positive start and has won an important toss, electing to bowl first with dew expected to make an impact in the second half.

MS Dhoni as always has decided to go with the same team as the man knows how to use his cards effectively more than anyone else in Chepauk. Hardik Pandya, the GT captain, has made a surprising move though to bring in Darshan Nalkande in place of Yash Dayal for this big game. It is a surprising move because Darshan has not played a single game this season while he played two games for GT in the 2022 season. 

GT also had the option of playing Shivam Mavi who has played for India too but it seems that Hardik and company has seen something in Darshan that the rest of the world does not know yet.

Here are the playing XIs...

Chennai Super Kings Playing XI: Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ajinkya Rahane, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni (c and wk), Deepak Chahar, Tushar Deshpande, Maheesh Theekshana

Gujarat Titans Playing XI: Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Shubman Gill, Hardik Pandya (c), David Miller, Dasun Shanaka, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Darshan Nalkande, Noor Ahmad, Mohammad Shami, Mohit Sharma


Gujarat Titans: Vijay Shankar, KS Bharat, Jayant Yadav, Sai Sudharsan, Shivam Mavi

Chennai Super Kings: Matheesha Pathirana, Mitchell Santner, Subhranshu Senapati, Shaik Rasheed, Akash Singh

Matheesha Pathirana will slot into the XI when CSK bowls while for GT, Vijay Shankar may come in when GT bats.

Here's what two captains said...

MS Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings Captain): "We wanted to bowl first. The reason was pretty simple. GT is a good side and they have chased very well in the past. It has been excellent. Right from the first game, what the guys have done well is read the situation better. It's the biggest league in the world and the pressure is intense. All are world-class players and they have adapted to the conditions really well. The boys have done that and we have to keep doing that. It's important to back yourselves. Also, the confidence level is very important. If you have the confidence, you can take any role given to you by the team. I feel the pitch may slow down as the game progresses. But it will depend on the dew factor. There are some breezes around, so not sure if the dew is really gonna play. We are playing with the same squad."

Hardik Pandya (Gujarat Titans Captain): "We will bowl first. Ahh... We have just heard that the dew will be coming, so bowling first is a good option. We want to see what we are chasing. Someone told us to relax once we were sure of the top two finishing. But we didn't want to. We wanted to stay focused and play good cricket. We are a smart team and play smart cricket. We have adapted to many conditions and played clever cricket to get success away from home. Just one change. Darshan Nalkande comes in for Yash Dayal."