NEW DELHI: As the defending champions Chennai Super Kings prepare to face Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL season opener this year, former batter Abhinav Mukund believes that Chepauk is ‘no longer a fortress’ for the five-time winners.
Mukund, who was part of Chennai Super Kings from 2008 to 2012, stated on Thursday that RCB might see an opportunity, but he still supports CSK to emerge victorious.
“CSK versus RCB has been a great rivalry over the years. RCB have come incredibly close to winning at Chepauk but couldn’t cross the line. A couple of these moments will be etched in fans’ hearts,” Mukund said.
“The good thing for RCB is that the pitches in Chennai have changed. It’s no longer a fortress for CSK. They lost to Punjab (Kings) and KKR (Kolkata Knight Riders) at home (last year) even though they won the trophy. But looking at the spin-friendly conditions and the spinners they have, CSK looks stronger on paper,” the former India batter was quoted as saying by Jio Cinema.
The schedule for the first two weeks, featuring 21 matches of the T20 extravaganza, was disclosed on Thursday. MS Dhoni-led CSK is set to play two matches at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Chennai’s next home fixture would be a repeat of last year’s final with a clash against Gujarat Titans on March 26.
Meanwhile, former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar expected Dhoni to be in his usual elements as the leader.
“MS Dhoni will do his thing. He’ll show us that captaincy that has such a huge impact just like last season,” Manjrekar was quoted as saying by Star Sports.
“With the role that MS Dhoni had last season, it’s clear to see that captaincy in the IPL is so important. As a batter, he contributed a bit, but for the youngsters and inexperienced players, he makes them champions – that’s his speciality,” he added.
(With inputs from PTI)





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