IPL 2023 GT v CSK Preview - 100,000 fans expected at IPL curtain raiser

Key match stats GT vs CSK

Pitch Stats – Narendra Modi Stadium

Average first innings score: 160
Average first innings winning score: 172
Average powerplay score: 47
Win % batting 1st vs batting 2nd: 42% / 53%

Team form GT vs CSK

Recent meetings: IPL 2022 - GT won by 7 wickets, GT won by 3 wickets

Preview GT vs CSK

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IPL 2023 kicks off with the defending champions GT going head to head with the 2021 winners CSK. Chennai's struggles last season show just how difficult it is to defend a title in this league and I don't expect Gujarat will find it any easier this year.

Despite the very different levels of success achieved by both these franchises, neither has made any wholesale changes to their squads during the auction.

For Gujarat Titans, the loss of Lockie Ferguson who returned to KKR is probably the most notable change but they've recruited Josh Little and Shivam Mavi to compete in what is generally a strong bowling unit. Little could become the first Irishman to play in the IPL if selected but he does enter the tournament under an injury cloud having opted out of the PSL to rest a sore hamstring.

GT also brought in Kane Williamson for his base price of 2 crore and despite having a poor season with Sunrisers in 2022, he still offers quality and experience at the top of the order. If there was one area that needed improvement for the Titans from last year it was in the top 3 and so Williamson certainly provides competition for the likes of Matthew Wade. The former New Zealand skipper also comes into the tournament having scored 3 centuries (the last of which was a double) in his last 3 Tests. Can he take that form into the IPL?

CSK resisted the temptation to hit the reset button and instead will come into the tournament with a largely familiar squad. The one glaring absence comes via Dwayne Bravo's retirement and CSK invested heavily in Ben Stokes as his replacement. Stokes has been struggling with a knee injury but travelled to India to meet up with the squad and is expected to play in their opening game against GT.

Elsewhere, the return of Deepak Chahar to lead the attack will be a little like a new signing for CSK after the seamer was ruled out of the entire IPL 2022 season with injury.

The match is due to take place at the Narendra Modi Stadium with 100,000 tickets sold for the first IPL season in 3 years where stadiums will be full once again.

That in itself could be an important factor in the outcome of this match and the tournament as a whole. CSK in particular are a side full of well seasoned pros who have seen and done it all before, including in front of massive crowds who will no doubt be making a lot of noise throughout the 40 overs.

We wait to see what kind of pitch we'll get at the Narendra Modi Stadium for this match. Historically it's not been an especially high scoring ground with an average first innings score just shy of 160.

Bowlers have generally found enough assistance in the wicket by bowling cutters into a surface that sometimes lacks a bit of pace (see Hardik Pandya's record below). England and India played a 5 match series here during Covid with the scores in the first 3 games fairly low before conditions improved. However, India did amass 234 here in a T20 last month against New Zealand so perhaps that's a sign of things to come.

GT vs CSK head to head

GT bowling vs CSK batting

Gujarat captain Hardik Pandya knows the conditions at the Narendra Modi Stadium better than most having played in all 6 of the most recent T20 internationals here not to mention last year's IPL final. That knowledge of conditions is coupled with an impressive bowling record as noted below.

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Hardik Pandya IPL record at the Narendra Modi Stadium

CSK will be hoping that their opening pair can rediscover some of the form that they showed late last season by which time the franchise's hopes of a playoff place were already gone. In previous meetings, Ruturaj Gaikwad has treated GT's primary strike bowler in Mohammed Shami with the utmost respect looking primarily to survive as opposed to scoring freely.

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Mohammed Shami vs Ruturaj Gaikwad T20 head to head

A slow start would potentially put pressure on the middle order to up the ante against Rashid Khan which is generally when he is at his most dangerous. However, CSK have plenty of batsmen who are willing to take the wrist-spinner on and who have decent records against the Afghan. Moeen Ali and Gaikwad strike at 140+ and 150+ respectively while Ambati Rayudu has never been dismissed by Rashid despite the pair having played a substantial amount of cricket against one another.

Ben Stokes will certainly be under pressure to justify his hefty price tag and he'll want to improve on his head to head record against Gujarat's primary bowling options, all of whom have dismissed him at least twice in T20 cricket before at almost zero cost.

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Ben Stokes T20 head to head combined batting stats vs Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya and Rashid Khan

CSK bowling vs GT batting

With relatively little T20 cricket played at the Narendra Modi Stadium, there isn't a huge sample size to draw upon when looking for players who enjoy the conditions in Ahmedabad. However, Gujarat Titans will be buoyed by the fact that in the limited opportunities that they have had to play at their new home ground, several of their batsmen have performed very well.

Shubman Gill was already averaging close to 50 here before going out and scoring a big hundred against New Zealand in the most recent T20 international played in Ahmedabad. His recent form in all formats of cricket suggests he could be in for a big season in the IPL too.

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Shubman Gill T20 batting stats at the Narendra Modi Stadium

The key to getting Gill out will almost certainly be to try and knick him off early. While he is a joy to watch with his languid drives through the off-side, he doesn't really move his feet and tends to go at the ball with his hands. If there is any early movement then he's vulnerable and CSK do have the returning Deepak Chahar to try and make the most of any swing that is on offer. Chahar has dismissed Gill on 2 previous occasions in the IPL.

If CSK don't make early in roads into the GT batting line-up then it becomes a game of cat and mouse between the batsmen and CSK's finger spin options. Gill averages just shy of 100 in the IPL against finger spin while Dhoni will have to be at his absolute best to find the ideal match-ups against the remainder of this powerful GT middle order.

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Wade T20 head to head vs Jadeja

David Miller would usually be tasked with taking on Ravi Jadeja given his head to head record with the left-armer (he averages 110 with a S/R of 171 against Jadeja in T20 cricket) but Cricket South Africa seem keen for Miller to remain with the national squad for the series against the Netherlands. GT may therefore be tempted to drop Mathew Wade down the order to combat Jadeja who would otherwise be an effective weapon against a middle order dominated by right handers.

All stats used in this blog are from my own databases which are freely accessible below
IPL head to head player stats
IPL player stats by venue
IPL stadium statistics.
Images are my own with the exception of player profiles and background images which are used under a creative commons license or otherwise royalty free