CSK ready to play spoilsport as desperate KKR eye victory
Dubai. Already out of play-offs reckoning, a relaxed Chennai Super Kings are ready to play party-poopers in their bid to foil Kolkata Knight Riders’ desperate bid for a victory in an Indian Premier League game on Thursday. KKR with 12 points from 12 games would like to win the next two encounters to ensure a smooth passage while CSK, currently at the bottom of the eight-team table, are only playing for pride.
A possibility remains that multiple teams will end up on either 16 or 14 points and a comprehensive victory at this stage of the tournament, will bring the superior net run-rate into equation when the play-off spots are decided.
It won’t get too easy for KKR against CSK, who handed an eight-wicket thrashing to Royal Challengers Bangalore in their previous outing.
KKR’s unsettled batting order is a point of concern for Eoin Morgan, who would hope that former skipper Dinesh Karthik produces his A game when it matters most.
Nitish Rana, who shone in the win over Delhi Capitals came a cropper in the subsequent loss to Kings XI Punjab.
If the top-order fires, KKR will be better served as inconsistency has hurt the team in the course of the season as has the constant chopping and changing.
The bowlers have done a good job so far, with Tamil Nadu’s mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy being impressive and earning a spot in the Indian T20 team.
They need to be at the top of their game against the CSK batting unit that has been frustratingly inconsistent but is more than capable of being destructive on its day.
Paceman Pat Cummins, the Knight Riders’ costliest buy, has not been able to make the desired impact with the ball save for one game and would need to put his hand up in this crucial match.
Against CSK, which is missing out on the play-offs for the first time ever, Kolkata’s batting faces a varied attack which was boosted with the inclusion of Mitchell Santner in the last game and needs to step up.
CSK, on its part, will be aiming to build on the win over RCB and end the season on a high, apart from hurting the chances of play-off hopefuls.
The batting showed some spark with the young Ruturaj Gaikwad coming up with an enterprising knock and skipper Dhoni will be hoping he keeps the good form going.
The CSK bowlers choked a strong RCB batting unit with a performance that reminded CSK of yore and that should be a worry for the KKR batsmen short on consistency.
For CSK, any win would be welcome as they endured a forgettable season which is just about to wind down.
England’s World Cup-winning captain Morgan will hope to lead from the front but that would call for a collective performance.
There is a lot at stake for the Knights and they would settle for nothing less than a big win.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (C), M Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner, Josh Hazlewood, Shardul Thakur, Sam Curran, N Jagadeesan, KM Asif, Monu Kumar, R Sai Kishore, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Karn Sharma.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Eoin Morgan (captain), Dinesh Karthik (WK), Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Rinku Singh, Shubman Gill, Siddhesh Lad, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrior, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy, Andre Russell, Chris Green, M Siddharth, Sunil Narine, Nikhil Naik, Tom Banton, Tim Seifert.