High-flying KKR to face CSK for first time this season
A cracker of a contest is expected to be played out when in-form Kolkata Knight Riders take on faltering defending champions Chennai Super Kings in their 10th preliminary league match of the IPL in Chennai on Monday.
Both the teams are going to face-off each other for the first time this season and the Gautam Gambhir-led KKR hold the advantage after having won five of their nine matches so far.
Comparatively, Chennai are faltering because of their batting woes and lost by seven runs to tournament laggards Kings XI Punjab on Saturday.
Gambhir has been leading from the front and his batting this season in particular has been spectacular. The manner in which he tamed the Royal Challengers Bangalore at home on Saturday with a 51-ball 93, could intimidate any opposition bowler.
Image: Gautam Gambhir with teammate Lakshmi Ratan Shukla
Dhoni's form a worry for Chennai
Same cannot be said about CSK captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has been under the mat for months now. His personal contribution with the bat for both the national side and now for the Super Kings has been below par.
Dhoni has failed miserably so far, aggregating 132 in eight innings with a high of 40 as compared to Gambhir's 302 from eight innings with a highest of 93.Saturday's loss to Kings XI Punjab was a classic example of the hosts' failure to overcome pressure despite openers Faf Du Plessies and S Badrinath setting the base scoring at over nine in the first six overs.
Image: MS Dhoni with coach Stephen Fleming
Good set of bowlers a big plus for KKR
With the wicket being slow and low, it is not possible for KKR to repeat their feat of posting high totals but the in-form batsmen under Gambhir have proven records to their credit and will be able to stitch good partnerships.
Apart from Gambhir, Jacques Kallis, Manoj Tiwary and Manvendra Bisla have been among the runs.
In the bowling department, KKR have a fairly good combination starting from Lakshmipathy Balaji, who knows the conditions in Chepauk like the back of his hands, and Yusuf Pathan and Sunil Naraine have the experience to turn the tide in their team's favour under local conditions.
The Teams (From):
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Capt), Srikkanth Anirudha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Subramaniam Badrinath, George Bailey, Doug Bollinger, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Hussey, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, Joginder Sharma, Suraj Randiv, Nuwan Kulasekara, Yo Mahesh, Albie Morkel, Suresh Raina, Wriddhiman Saha, Scott Styris, Sudeep Tyagi, Kuthethurshri Vasudevadas, Ganapathi Vignesh, Murali Vijay.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (Capt), Brendon McCullum, Manvinder Bisla (wk), Jacques Kallis, Yusuf Pathan, Manoj Tiwary, Debabrata Das, Rajat Bhatia, Sunil Narine, Laxmipathy Balaji, Brett Lee, Eoin Morgan, Marchant de Lange, Ryan ten Doeschate, Pradeep Sangwan, Mohammad Shami Ahmed, Jaidev Unadkat, Iqbal Abdulla, Iresh Saxena, Sanju Samson, Sarabjit Singh Ladda, Chirag Jani.
Image: Gautam Gambhir with L Balaji