Current table-toppers of the Indian Premier League (IPL) – Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will be up against each other for the second leg in a span of five days. The last encounter between these two teams was a disappointment for the fans in terms of the runs scored.
On a slow and tricky Chennai wicket, KKR was restricted to 108/9 in their quota of overs. The silver lining for the fans was that their home team emerged as winners. As they get ready for a day game on Sunday, Kolkata’s turf promises to be a run feast as the par score has been 185+ this season.
Defending champions CSK is comfortably placed at the top of the IPL table with six wins from seven matches. The Chennai team is on a three-match winning spree, something which is expected from the experienced campaigners.
KKR, on the other hand, is placed second but has lost two consecutive matches against CSK and Delhi Capitals. To add to their woes, Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine and Andre Russell have been struggling with injuries throughout the tournament.
Chennai Super Kings
The franchise went on to win the match against Rajasthan Royals as they gunned down a modest 152-run target in a dramatic final over. Mitchell Santner’s six on the last ball of Ben Stokes helped CSK register 12 points on board.
The team would be looking to continue their rampage when they travel to the Eden Gardens for their next fixture.
Dhoni has led the team from the front, racking up 214 runs in five innings at an average of 107. The 37-year-old has played like his vintage best, finishing off ties for his side by hitting those trademark sixes.
Despite CSK's top order being strangely out of form, the bowlers have been vital to their success so far. Deepak Chahar has taken 10 wickets in seven matches, while Imran Tahir has chipped in with nine. They have excellent economy rates of 6.29 and 5.61, respectively.
Harbhajan has been a surprise package as he has bagged two ‘Player of the Match’ award in four outings for his seven wickets. Overall, the team looks really solid on paper as well as on the field as they have covered all their bases.
Kolkata Knight Riders
The home side's consistency has suddenly taken a beating after two defeats on the trot. First, they lost in Chennai and were then outplayed by Delhi Capitals (DC) at home. The Knights would be under immense pressure to arrest the slide when they face mighty Chennai.
Dinesh Karthik was disappointed with the bowling attack after the game against DC. The batting has not clicked either for the team and the likes of Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, and Karthik should take the onus of scoring more runs.
The in-form Jamaican has scored six 40-plus scores for his side and has a strike rate of 212.67 with an average of 100.66 in the tournament. If that was not all, the Windies all-rounder has turned certain defeats for his side into wins on three occasions this season.
He became the third IPL batsman to pass 300 runs and is also KKR’s top wicket-taker with six scalps to his credit. The team is totally reliant on Russell’s performance as others have failed to make a mark.
Meanwhile, Uthappa moved to 211 runs from seven innings, while Rana has 180 from six. Also, a talented youngster, Shubman Gill looked in sublime form as he scored 65 off 39 balls after being promoted to open against DC.
Skipper Dinesh Karthik, their leading run-getter last season has been struggling with his timing as he has contributed 93 runs at a woeful average of 15.33.
KKR’s bowlers have been a cause of worry. Not only have they leaked a lot of runs, but they also have the least number of wickets by any team in the tournament so far. In seven games, KKR has picked only 24 wickets at an average of 3.5.
Spinners Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine have failed to impress and would want to return with a bang as the business end of the tournament commences. The team’s fielding has also been sloppy and the management needs to address these issues.
Head to Head: 22 (Includes two Champions League T20 matches)
Chennai Super Kings: 13; Kolkata Knight Riders: 8; NR: 1
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (C and wk), Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna and Harry Gurney.
(Lynn and Narine will be fit and they'll replace Joe Denly and Carlos Brathwaite. Harry Gurney might come in for Lockie Ferguson)
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (C and wk), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh/Imran Tahir, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, and Scott Kuggeleijn.
(Scott Kuggeleijn might replace Mitchell Santner)
(Featured Image: FB/KKR)
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I am a passionate 20-year-old cricket fan who aspires to be a sports anchor. Like to Invest some free time in painting, reading and writing. I am staunch a believer in hard work. I am currently learning the art to play with words.