The Kolkata Knight Riders return home after a series of matches away from home to face the Chennai Super Kings. The first match between these two teams this season ended with CSK pulling off a 200+ run chase courtesy of Sam Billings. Since then, CSK has made the top spot their own, while KKR has been patchy, winning four in eight.
KKR have a good chance to cause an upset with some consistency, the only thing they have been lacking this season. CSK and SRH are tied on points, but a victory would put the pressure on their rivals to keep up. Can KKR get a second consecutive victory, or will CSK get the better of them once again?
Chennai Super Kings
MS Dhoni (c), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Kanishk Seth, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N Jagadeesan, David Willey.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Dinesh Karthik (c), Robin Uthappa, Mitchell Johnson, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, Ishank Jaggi, Nitish Rana, Vinay Kumar, Apoorv Wankhade, Rinku Singh, Shivam Mavi, Cameron Delport, Javon Searles, Tom Curran, Prasidh Krishna
Where the teams stand
Chennai Super Kings
Chennai have marked their return to the IPL with some extraordinary success. Their batsmen, after starting out as inconsistent and reliant on individual performances, have grown to regularly give CSK big scores through collective efforts. Rayudu, Raina, and Dhoni have been the vital cogs of this lineup, with others chipping in as well. Watson has a hundred to his name, while Bravo has scored a half-century too so far. On a pitch that has been conducive to batting, this is a very dangerous lineup. No target is safe, and they can easily pile the pressure while batting first too.
CSK’s bowlers have been their main downfall. The attack can be expensive, as it was in the last game against KKR, but Dhoni has tinkered with his bowling since by including KM Asif and Lungi Ngidi in the last game. Their spinners, Bhajji and Jadeja, have both been quite economical so far. Watson and Bravo have been highly inconsistent, and a major source of the attack’s leakiness. Ngidi had an encouraging debut against DD, and Dhoni will need him to be on the mark again. CSK will definitely want to chase, just like KKR, given the unreliability of this attack.
Fantasy Picks: Rayudu, Dhoni, Raina are the obvious picks from CSK. Watson has been inconsistent but is the best option for the fourth foreigner spot. Jadeja and Bhajji have been their best bowlers so far, and are the safest picks left.
Kolkata Knight Riders
KKR have just not played to their full potential all season. Marred by injuries, their campaign started off with two key pace bowlers being ruled out of the tournament. It has left a considerable hole in their bowling, one that their spin troika has struggled to fill. Mitchell Johnson has been a shadow of his former self, and he might just lose his place to Tom Curran today. There is a minor chance Searles will be the one to come off the bench, but that remains to be seen.
If the bowling has been shoddy, the batting has been frustrating at best. Uthappa has failed to post a score after getting off to good starts, while Narine has struggled at the top this season. Lynn has also looked rusty, despite his 62 in the last game. Both of them were very lucky in the last game as RCB gave them several lifelines through fielding errors. Russell remains a constant threat in the lineup, while DK has been consistently average for the most part. Rana will likely miss this game after he hurt his back in the last one. KKR have Wankhade and Jaggi as potential replacements, and both have a reputation for hitting the ball a long way. When KKR are good, they can be a delight, but the power plays have been their downfall. If they can perform as a team like they did in the last game, they might just give CSK a run for their money.
Fantasy Picks: DK, Russell, Narine, and Lynn are obvious picks from this side. Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep have been relatively economical so far. They have also picked up crucial wickets, making them worthy of being in any team.
CSK win. They have been the better side of the tournament so far, and are favourites once again.
Can the Super Kings notch an expected victory, or will the Knight Riders pull off an upset? Let us know in the comments and poll below