Chennai Super Kings — back after two years and back with winning ways. Cricket returned to Chennai but was meant for few games only before the home games for CSK was shifted to Pune. Kolkata Knight Riders, led by a different captain this season, has had so-so results so far. CSK boasting the top of the table will look to continue their domination but KKR will be hoping to edge out other average-performing-teams in the battle for playoffs. Will it again be a fest of runs for CSK or will KKR spinners be successful to keep the CSK batsmen in check? The actual battle today is — KKR’s bowling vs CSK’s batting.
Shane Watson, who had a bad time with RCB previous year, is performing well, especially with the bat under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The starts Watto has been providing at the top with Ambati Rayudu having his best season is helping CSK to set a great platform for their middle order. And, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has turned back the clock and shown some of the highlights of his career in this season. With all the members of the batting unit coming good together and performing well so far, their batting seems to be hardly any problem for them. Though CSK bowlers have done a fair job with the ball, if they have any area to ponder about, it is with their bowling. Yes, Lungi Ngidi did a great job last match. But, their arsenal of pace bowling is yet to be proven in a crunch situation.
Whenever we talk about KKR, their opening combination is a hard thing to ignore. With two different types of batsmen at their disposal to give them a flying start with the bat, it is definitely not an easy job as an opposition captain and bowlers to nail the plan. Though they might not be different with the way they bat, they have different weaknesses. Sunil Narine seems to have some problem with quality aggressive bowling while Chris Lynn definitely has got to work upon his batting against spin. So, it’s a challenge for opposition captain whether to attack Narine with pace bowling or to attack Lynn with some slow balls. Attacking Chris Lynn with spin might backfire as Narine loves to play against spin while Chris Lynn seems to have no hesitation in walloping the pace bowlers. As Nitish Rana is doing a great job to cover the absence of Gautam Gambhir by presenting the calm head in the middle, Robbin Uttapa has shown some consistency with no big scores so far. Dinesh Karthik has been definitely taking his responsibility well by playing some cameos as well. But, it is Andre Russell for whom the plan has got to go right. If not, some big sixes do rain in no time.
Probable XI for CSK:-
Faf du Plessis looked terrible while Shane Watson went berserk with the bat CSK’s last match. So, Sam Billings might a nod over South African Captain.
1) Shane Watson, 2)Ambati Rayudu, 3) Suresh Raina, 4)Sam Billings, 5) MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 6) Ravindra Jadeja, 7) Dwayne Bravo, 8) Karn Sharma, 9) Harbhajan Singh, 10) Shardul Thakur, 11) Lungi Ngidi
Probable XI for KKR:-
As Dinesh Karthik has openly expressed his belief in taking the field with same eleven players, we might not see any changes. But, forced changes might come into action if Nitish Rana is not fit to play. But, Tom Curran again might not get a chance over Mitchell Johnson.
Strategy for CSK:
- Throttle Sunil Narine’s venomous batting with some bouncers
- Attack Chris Lynn with Imran Tahir’s leggie.
- Deceive Russell with some spin bowlers
Strategy for KKR
- Give the ball to Sunil Narine after 10 overs. Let Dhoni attack against Sunil Narine.
- Don’t ball Piyush Chawla in the powerplay against Watson. Instead, give the ball to Jadeja against Watson.
- Bowl Harbhajan against Suresh Raina.
Players to watch out for:
Shane Watson has been in a great mood this season with the yellow jersey. Till now, he has the highest points among all players.
Russell should be the man to put some show for KKR to snatch a victory. He has been hitting some big sixes this season. Today might be no different.
Noteable mentions: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sunil Narine
By Sudarshan Regmi