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Can Chennai Super Kings begin 2019 edition of IPL with win?

Chennai Super Kings begin the defence of the IPL later this week, but can they produce back-to-back triumphs like they did back in 2010 and 2011?

The 12th edition of the Indian Premier League begins later this month, and last year's staging showed that the tournament remains hugely competitive with just eight points separating the teams at the top and bottom of the standings. Each franchise won between five and nine of their 14 league matches ahead of the playoffs, and it is anyone's guess who will emerge victorious in the final on May 19. However, most eyes will be on whether Chennai Super Kings can successfully defend the trophy which they won last year with Stephen Fleming's side getting their campaign underway against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday.

When attempting to find a cricket live score during the tournament, you will naturally be looking to see which of the star attractions have piled on the runs in any given match, and there is every chance that you will be doing so on a regular basis with the Super Kings. Chennai go into the tournament with the majority of the squad which took them to glory during 2018, and MS Dhoni will be determined to match his sensational form during last season. The 37-year-old averaged in excess of 75 courtesy of several innings which ended with him remaining not out, while the veteran contributed his 455 runs across 16 matches at a strike rate of over 150. Dhoni is looking to achieve his fourth IPL as skipper of Chennai, and it is difficult to back against him doing just that.

MS Dhoni ahead of net session for India in 2018.© Reuters

Chennai are also stacked with options with the ball. Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja and David Willey will likely be rotated as the team's star all-rounders, but expect a contribution from New Zealand's Mitchell Santner. The slow left-armer had to miss last year's Indian Premier League due to knee surgery, but the 27-year-old has been back playing domestic and international cricket for a number of months. Santner produced his best international T20 figures in India with 4-11 being recorded in Nagpur in 2016, and his record suggests that he thrives on the pitches on the sub-continent.

Saturday's opponents Royal Challengers Bangalore are one of the outsiders for the competition. They have only won nine of their last 28 outings in the IPL - despite the presence of Virat Kohli - and there is a strong desire to secure a return to the playoffs for the sixth time in their history. Registering an upset victory over Chennai at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium this weekend would go a long way to getting themselves back on track, but Chennai's all-round strength in depth should prove too strong in front of their own supporters.

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Joe Root celebrates the wicket of Johnson Charles during the World Twenty20 final between England and the West Indies at Eden Gardens on April 3, 2016
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