Buoyed by a string of wins, Chennai Super Kings take on defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders, who recently arrested their losing streak by beating Kings XI Punjab. However, both teams would be under immense pressure to make an impact.
Interestingly, this will be Chennai’s first home game in day-night conditions. Since the sea breeze sets in at around 4 pm, there may not be much humidity, though there could be reasonable heat.
Hence, the team that wins the toss would likely bat first.
CSK, generally, don’t disturb a winning combination, and hence would field the same team that beat Sunrisers on Thursday. Also, Chennai, after a two-day rest, would be refreshed. Conversely, Kolkata players would be tired after their late fixture on Friday. But they would certainly try their best to avenge their loss to Chennai at home.
However, beating Chennai at home isn’t an easy task, though they had accomplished that in last year’s final. CSK would rely on their openers Mike Hussey and Murali Vijay to a give them a good start.
Hussey is still in good form while Vijay showed signs of regaining his touch against SH. The duo’s start is crucial for CSK to build a platform and post a formidable total.
However, their middle-order batsmen such as Suresh Raina, S Badrinath and Ravindra Jadeja need contribute more in middle overs. Finishing shouldn’t be an issue as Dhoni is in spectacular form while Dwayne Bravo has been chipping in with useful runs.
On their bowling front, spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja will have a key role play in restricting KKR to a modest total. Jadeja, in particular, needs to bowl a better length to get more purchase off the strip or at least check the run-flow. Medium-pacer Chris Morris has proved more than adequate, though Bravo and Mohit Sharma need to bowl tighter at the death.
Kolkata, too, is likely to field the same side that beat Punjab, but for Sri Lankan Sachithra Senanayake. Their batting, hugely dependent on Gautam Gambhir, Jacques Kallia and Eoin Morgan, is bolstered by Manvinder Bisla’s return to form.
Tamil Nadu skipper L Balaji and mystery bowler Sunil Narine will be key for Kolkata. Narine, who could open the bowling for KKR, has it in him to stifle CSK openers with his nagging accuracy. Balaji’s familiarity with his home conditions would see him play a crucial role. Leggie Sarabjit Ladda is a handy option, too.