The Super Kings beat the Sunrisers in last year’s final to win their third IPL title.
The Chennai outfit are the joint-most successful side in IPL history with Mumbai Indians having also won three titles.
The Sunrisers have one title, but most bookies have them as favourites to win this year’s IPL and Express Sport agrees.
Three defeats in a row at the end of the group stage didn’t stop the Hyderabad team topping the group stage.
Sunrisers look the best equipped when it comes to balance, with Kane Williamson, Yusuf Pathan and Jonny Bairstow in the batting ranks.
Rashid Khan, who took 21 wickets last year, will again lead the bowling attack while Siddarth Kaul, who also took 21 in 2018, is still in the squad.
The Super Kings are likely to challenge with MS Dhoni always under pressure with the Chennai side.
A solid Indian core of Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina and Murali Vijay help CSK while Imran Tahir is always a threat with the ball.
But Chennai will also face a strong challenge from Mumbai Indians, who missed out on the playoffs last year.
The three-time champions have a settled squad, with Quinton de Kock a wonderful addition.
Coached by Mahela Jayawardene, the likes of Lasith Malinga and Kieron Pollard provide firepower in both batting and bowling attacks.
But the Sunrisers look to have the best chance, and will be hoping they can go one better than last year.
IPL 2019 match schedule
March 23 – May 5: Round robin matches
May 7: Qualifier 1 (1st vs 2nd)
May 8: Eliminator 1 (3rd vs 4th)
May 10: Qualifiers 2 (Loser of Q1 vs Winner of E1)
May 12: Final – winner of Q1 vs winner of Q2