Boosted by last season s performance where they defeated RCB in both their matches, CSK, known to be late bloomers, will be looking to get their campaign underway with a winning start. @ Twitter/Chennai Super Kings

In a contest billed as the perfect curtain raiser, defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) host Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the tournament opener of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2019) at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Saturday.

Boosted by last season s performance where they defeated RCB in both their matches, CSK will be looking to get their campaign underway with a winning start. The MS Dhoni-led squad managed to retain almost everyone from their title-winning squad and look to be strong contenders to make it two titles in a row this season.

RCB have been the perennial chokers of the IPL, but this year, Virat Kohli is determined to shed the tag. With a fresh coaching staff led by former South Africa opener and India s 2011 World Cup-winning coach Gary Kirsten and Ashish Nehra, RCB won t be having pressure of winning at home and they will pull off all stops to create an upset at the Chepauk. Will that be the case or will thala Dhoni and Co. live up to expectations?

What: IPL 2019, Match 1: Chennai Super Kings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore

When: March 23 (Saturday)

Where: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

Time: 8 pm IST

Where to watch: Star Network (in India)

Live streaming: Hotstar or you can also follow LIVE coverage of the match on CricketCountry.com

Weather: Sunny with a maximum high of 34 degree Celsius

Teams

Chennai Super Kings (CSK)

CSK are certain to go with their tried and tested opening combination of Ambati Rayudu and Shane Watson. While Rayudu hasn t been in the best of forms recently, Watson, who was the Player of the Tournament in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) after scoring 430 runs from 12 matches at an average of 43, has been in red hot form. In Dhoni and Suresh Raina, CSK have a formidable middle order.

Coach Stephen Fleming confirmed the arrival of South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, leg-spinner Imran Tahir and New Zealand allrounder Mitchell Santner and said that the trio were available for selection. Dwayne Bravo and Mitchell Santner are set to feature in the side with either the England duo of Sam Billings or David Willey expected to fill in the fourth overseas slot.

Probable XI: 1. Ambati Rayudu, 2. Shane Watson, 3. Suresh Raina, 4. MS Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), 5. Kedar Jadhav, 6. Sam Billings/David Willey, 7. Dwayne Bravo, 8. Imran Tahir, 9. Deepak Chahar, 10. Mitchell Santner, 11. Shardul Thakur

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)

A major chunk of RCB s run scoring will be shouldered by the explosive duo of captain Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. RCB added more firepower to their batting arsenal with the signing of West Indies batsman Shimron Hetmyer, who grabbed eyeballs in the series against India, and will be a sure shot inclusion. While RCB have always faced a problem of balance in their squad, the signing of Mumbai allrounder Shivam Dube could resolve the issue. Dube, however, short on match fitness, but could make it to the playing XI.

New Zealand pacer Tim Southee will lead the bowling department, while Umesh Yadav will be expected to replicate last year s heroics where he snapped 20 wickets. With the Chepauk known to assist spinners, RCB may go ahead with Pawan Negi or Moeen Ali along with Yuzvendra Chahal and home boy Washington Sundar.

Probable XI: 1. Parthiv Patel, 2. Shimron Hetmyer, 3. Virat Kohli, 4. AB de Villiers, 5. Moeen Ali, 6. Shivam Dube, 7. Washington Sundar/Pawan Negi, 8. Tim Southee, 9. Umesh Yadav, 10. Mohammad Siraj, 11. Yuzvendra Chahal

Head to Head:

Total number of matches played: 23

CSK: 15

RCB: 7

No Result: 1

Matches in Chepauk: 7 (CSK won 6, RCB 1)

Last five matches: CSK 5 RCB 0