CHENNAI: In the backdrop of threats of protest for the formation of the Cauvery Management Board, and amidst tight security, a cracker of a contest is on the cards when Chennai Super Kings take on Kolkata Knight Riders at MA Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday. CSK will be without the services of Kedar Jadhav, who is ruled out of the IPL due to a hamstring injury.
But the MS Dhoni-led side is still formidable and keen to carry forward the momentum after winning the season opener against Mumbai Indians. The Chepauk pitch has been particularly spin-friendly.
With KKR also ensuring good spin options in Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla, CSK’s first home game could be a battle between spinners of both sides. In the first few games of the tournament, openers like KL Rahul (Kings XI Punjab) and Sunil Narine (KKR) had gone hammer and tongs in the powerplay, which earned their respective sides a convincing victory. So does CSK have spinners to contain KKR openers?
“Obviously, it’s an important phase (powerplay) of the game. Teams are keen on getting some early wickets. A good show in powerplay is always something we are looking at. In Chennai, our spinners can play well. Narine batted well in the previous game.
So we should try to use some tactic to restrict him from scoring,” observed CSK batting coach Mike Hussey on Monday. In the first match, CSK’s spinners Harbhajan Singh, Ravindra Jadeja and Imran Tahir did not bowl to their best at the Wankhede. All three went for more than seven runs per over. But the wicket here is a different ball game.
“It (the pitch) looks good. I expect spinners from both sides to play a bit of a part,” remarked Hussey. Coach Stephen Fleming had also said that the team’s spin component was important for home matches. He also said that this pitch will be best suited for Harbhajan’s style of bowling. “Bhajji (Harbhajan) will be happy bowling here.
But the bounce and topspin that he gets on this ground are more suited for his style.’’ Dinesh Karthik believed that bowling was his KKR’s strength. “We have variety and quality bowlers in (Mitchell) Johnson, (Andre) Russell, Kuldeep, Narine, Chawla in the side. The bowling unit will be a key factor,’’ Karthik had said before taking over as KKR captain.
Vijay likely to play
Hussey hinted that Murali Vijay may take the place of injured Jadhav. “Vijay got hit in the ribs in the first few days of his training. He’s been quite sore and slowly working his way back to full fitness. He has been hitting the ball nicely too.”