Chennai Super Kings (CSK) won the toss and opted to bowl first against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the match 29 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at Kolkata’s iconic Eden Gardens Stadium on Sunday. With the playoffs approaching both the sides will leave no stone unturned to get their A-game on in what is set to be an absolutely cracking encounter.
While there were no changes made for the Chennai side, three changes were made for Kolkata as Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, and Harry Gurney come in for Joe Denly, Carlos Brathwaite and Lockie Ferguson.
Table-toppers CSK will look to complete the double against KKR, just like Delhi Capitals did, when the two teams clash in an IPL match here on Sunday. The home side’s consistency has suddenly taken a beating after two defeats on the trot, first in Chennai and then against Delhi Capitals on Friday. The Knight Riders, hence, would be under immense pressure to arrest the slide when they face the mighty Chennai.
Both their defeats exposed KKR’s over-reliance on Andre Russell, who looked ominous, but the opponents figured out a way to strangulate the Windies power hitter to restrict the team to below-par totals. To make matters worse, the Jamaican is a doubtful starter after aggravating his wrist injury that he had sustained in Chennai. He never looked at ease during his 21-ball 45 against Delhi.
He also could not finish his quota of four overs while bowling and limped off the ground. He was not seen during the post-match presentation ceremony too.
“He has a bit of an issue. He braved that and still went on to play this game. He is always a special cricketer. We will take a call day after,” skipper Dinesh Karthik said about the availability of Russell, who has been the man-of-the-match in three of their four wins.
Russell has been exceptional for KKR this season with six successive 40-plus scores and it would be a massive blow for the hosts if they miss him in the back end of the tournament.
Thankfully for KKR, talented youngster Shubman Gill looked in sublime form and returned with a 65 off 39 balls after being promoted to open against Delhi Capitals.
But KKR need their batting to click as a whole, especially a skipper Dinesh Karthik, their leading run-getter last season. He has been struggling this time with 93 runs at a woeful average of 15.33.
With the Eden surface not helping the spinners much, the spin-oriented attack too have struggled to pick wickets while the pace attack in Prasidh Krishna and Lockie Ferguson looked ordinary.
Karthik, who is also eyeing a World Cup berth, will be under a lot of pressure to score runs personally and also turn it around for KKR on the eve of the India team selection.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (C/wk), Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Nikhil Naik, Joe Denly, Shrikant Mundhe, Nitish Rana, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Lockie Ferguson, Harry Gurney, Matt Kelly, KC Cariappa and Yarra Prithviraj.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (C/wk), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, Sam Billings, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhruv Shorey, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Rituraj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Santner, Shardul Thakur, Mohit Sharma, KM Asif, Deepak Chahar, N Jagadeesan, Scott Kuggeleijn.
Match starts at 4pm (IST)
(With PTI Inputs)