Against the Chennai Super Kings, the Kolkata Knight Riders must be more circumspect, as while they have a qualification spot at stake, CSK has nothing to lose.
It would be a rather unusual day out for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) when they step out to meet the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Thursday at the Dubai International Stadium. Unusual, for in the eleven times that they have participated in the tournament, never have they entered into a game with the tag of party poopers. Although, placed at the bottom of the table with only four wins this year, that is what the CSK unit has reduced itself to.
Out of the reckoning for the playoffs, CSK has only pride to play for. Nothing more, nothing less. They have some legacy, some reputation to preserve, and winning all the remaining fixtures would be a fair way to do that. The Yellow Army might want to back itself and continue rolling the ball that they have set in motion after their thumping and dominating victory by 8 wickets against RCB. Why did they not this a little earlier though? Well, that’s for them to ponder.
Their immediate rivals are the Kolkata Knight Riders, who are on a weird streak of wins and losses. LWLWL. That is what KKR’s record in the last five fixtures read. Going by the pattern, they must be optimistic about winning the coming one, although optimism is not what Eoin Morgan’s men would want to solely rely upon given the delicate situation they are in. With two games left to play, they could qualify with one victory too. However, given their poor net run rate and a possibility that multiple teams will end up on either 16 or 14 points, two in two is what they would need to assure themselves a top-four finish.
And one would be afraid, that efforts similar to the one they put up against the Kings XI Punjab in their last encounter would be of little help. Against Punjab, KKR managed to look ordinary on all the fronts: bat, ball, and fielding. Result? A denting defeat by 8 wickets as the opponents chased the target of 150 without a hiccup. Against CSK, they must be more circumspect, as while they have a qualification spot at stake, CSK has nothing to lose.
Pitch and conditions
A sudden unpredictability has been dissolved in the scoring patterns of late. Though the tracks have certainly gotten slower and drier with time, teams have managed to both defend and chase. At this venue, especially the pacers who have mixed their lengths have been able to reap more success. There will be some dew in the second half of the game, although it would not have any material bearing on the game.
Playing Combinations for CSK vs KKR
Chennai Super Kings
It must have been satisfying, regardless of the difference it makes, to see youngster Ruturaj Gaikwad showing some spark through his promising half-century knock in the last game. Though Faf du Plessis was contributing well with the bat, he has of late thrown his wicket away after getting off to a start.
After being used as an opener for a few games, Sam Curran has been demoted to his usual middle-order spot. A major cause behind CSK’s success in the last game was the bowling of spinners – Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner, and Ravindra Jadeja, and all three of them would want to perform with the same intensity. Deepak Chahar will once again lead the pace attack alongside Monu Kumar.
Probable XI- Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C & WK), Narayan Jagadeesan, Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir, Monu Kumar
Kolkata Knight Riders
KKR happens to be the only side that doesn’t have even a single half-century opening stand this season. Consistent wickets have meant increased pressure on the middle-order, where Dinesh Karthik has been struggling heavily. Though Shubman Gill was able to get into the groove with the bat in the last game, the team needs returns from Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi, as they both have been highly inconsistent.
The team must also ensure to exploit Lockie Ferguson well as he has often been underutilized and has not been introduced at the right time despite his pace prowess. The young pacers Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Prasidh Krishna have had their moments, whereas Varun Chakravarthy has managed to impress with his exploits as well.
Probable XI- Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Eoin Morgan (C), Sunil Narine, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson, Varun Chakravarthy, Prasidh Krishna
CSK vs KKR Head to Head
Played- 24 | CSK won- 14 | KKR won- 9 | NR- 1
Match Timings- 7:30 PM (IST), 6:00 PM (Local).
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