Indian T20 League 2022 begins with a blockbuster clash that pits Chennai against Kolkata at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday, March 26. The two sides last met in the Indian T20 League 2021 final, with Chennai emerging victorious and clinching the title.

Both sides are no strangers to success in the Indian T20 League, with Chennai having four titles to their name while Kolkata have clinched the coveted prize twice.

However, the head-to-head between the teams is dominated by Chennai, who have 17 wins in 25 meetings with Kolkata. The latter have won this fixture on eight occasions.

Ahead of the Indian T20 League 2022 season opener between the two teams, we look at a few key battles between the players from the opposing camps, which could decide the outcome of the contest.

Chennai vs Kolkata key player battles

MS Dhoni vs Varun Chakravarthy

While a player of MS Dhoni’s calibre can roll back the years in the blink of an eye, the former Chennai skipper has found it challenging to get going against Kolkata spinner Varun Chakravarthy in recent times. In fact, Chakravarthy has dismissed Dhoni in all three innings that he has bowled to the Chennai legend in the Indian T20 League.

Since Dhoni is known for being a good player of spin, his struggles against Chakravarthy come as somewhat of a surprise. Besides being dismissed three times in as many innings against the Kolkata spinner, Dhoni managed just 10 runs off the 12 balls he faced against Chakravarthy. If Dhoni does come in to provide Chennai with a flourishing touch to finish their innings, there is no doubt that Chakravarthy should be Kolkata’s go-to bowler.

MS Dhoni record vs Varun Chakravarthy
Innings Runs scored Balls faced Dismissed Strike rate
3 10 12 3 83.33

Ambati Rayudu vs Sunil Narine

Another veteran from Team Chennai who has uncharacteristically struggled against a spinner from Kolkata is middle-order batter Ambati Rayudu. For the most part, the right-hander has looked comfortable against spin but has generally struggled whenever facing the charismatic finger spin of Sunil Narine.

The man from the Caribbean has the edge over Rayudu in the head-to-head battle between the two players. While Narine has dismissed Rayudu thrice in 12 innings against Chennai in the Indian T20 League, what stands out even more is the Indian batter’s numbers against Narine. Rayudu has managed just 49 runs from 55 balls against Narine and is likely to have similar problems against the spinner come Saturday.  

Ambati Rayudu record vs Sunil Narine
Innings Runs scored Balls faced Dismissed Strike rate
12 49 55 3 89.09

Dwayne Bravo vs Andre Russell

One more intriguing battle that we are likely to see in this contest is one between two teammates from the international stage. Andre Russell facing Dwayne Bravo has given cricket fans plenty of memories over the years, and there’s no reason why Indian T20 League 2022 should be any different when the two all-rounders from the Caribbean square off in the middle.

Numbers indicate that Russell enjoys batting against Bravo in their player battle. In four innings where Bravo has bowled to Russell, the Kolkata all-rounder has smashed 78 runs from 30 balls at a strike rate of 260 without ever being dismissed. Conversely, Russell has bowled 11 balls to Bravo over two innings, with the latter managing just 11 runs in that time and being dismissed once.

Dwayne Bravo vs Andre Russell
Batsmen Bowler Innings Runs scored Balls faced Dismissed Strike rate
Dwayne Bravo Andre Russell 2 11 11 1 100.00
Andre Russell Dwayne Bravo 4 78 30 0 260.0

Author: Andre Pitts