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IPL: In-form CSK, KKR brace for high-octane battle

Source: PTI
September 25, 2021 13:50 IST
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While CSK beat MI and RCB by 20 runs and seven wickets respectively, KKR tamed RCB and MI by nine and seven wickets in the UAE leg.

Kolkata Knight Riders rookie batter Venkatesh Iyer

IMAGE: Kolkata Knight Riders rookie batter Venkatesh Iyer holds the key in Sunday's IPL clash against Chennai Super Kings. He scored a 27-ball 41 against RCB and followed it up with a maiden IPL fifty (53 from 30 balls) against Mumbai Indians. Photograph: BCCI

On a roll post the IPL's resumption, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders will look to continue their winning streak when they meet in a high-octane Indian Premier League encounter, in Abu Dhabi, on Sunday.

The two most impressive sides of the tournament's second phase face-off in the second double header of the evening.

 

Both CSK and KKR have registered two wins in as many games since the IPL's resumption in the UAE, and are desperate to outwit each other in a bid to register a hat-trick of victories.

However, Varun Chakravarthy, who had tormented the CSK batters last season in UAE will again like to ask probing questions to the likes of Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu and Mahendra Singh Dhoni with his extra bounce and unpredictable angles on tracks where the ball occasionally grips and comes onto the bat slower than expected.

Another common factor post the tournament's resumption is that CSK and KKR have registered both their thumping wins against Royal Challengers Bangalore and defending champions Mumbai Indians.

While CSK beat MI and RCB by 20 runs and seven wickets respectively, KKR tamed RCB and MI by nine and seven wickets.

But it is in the standings where CSK hold an edge over KKR. While the Dhoni-led side is atop the pecking order with 14 points from nine games, KKR is at fourth spot with eight points from the same number of matches.

Young Gaikwad has been ominous form at the top. After scoring a match-winning unbeaten 88 off 58 balls against MI, he hit a quick 38 against RCB on Friday and in the company of Faf du Plessis provided a good start for the team while chasing 157.

Dhoni will want the youngster to continue in the same vein.

After an unimpressive outing against MI, CSK’s batters lifted their game, with Du Plessis (31), Moeen Ali (23), Ambati Rayudu (32), Suresh Raina (17 not out), Dhoni (11) all getting starts.

But it is the performance of the bowling unit which should be lauded, as the bowlers were up to their task for the second consecutive match to hand CSK its seventh win of the season.

Dwayne Bravo (3/24) was brilliant with the ball against RCB, while Shardul Thakur (2/29) and Deepak Chahar (1/35) provided good support to the West Indian.

KKR, on the other hand, had a dream start to the second leg after struggling in the first phase.

They are is looking a completely different unit as they defeated RCB and MI.

Rookie Venketesh Iyer impressed all and sundry with his stroke-making in his first two IPL games. While he scored a 27-ball 41 in KKR's 93-run chase against RCB, in the game against MI the opener made 53 off 30 balls.

Shubman Gill is also in fine form and with Rahul Tripathi (74 not out off 42) to coming good, KKR's batting looks in safe hands.

The tall opener Venkatesh will face a different kind of challenge when Deepak Chahar starts swinging the ball both ways. It will test his skills considering he doesn't have a distinct footwork while playing the faster bowlers.

But skipper Eoin Morgan would be desperate to return among the runs.

On the bowling front, Chakravarthy, star all-rounder Andre Russell, Lockie Ferguson, Sunil Narine and Prasidh Krishna will hope to continue their fine show.

Teams (From):

Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (Captain) Ruturaj Gaikwad, Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir, Faf du Plessis, Robin Uthappa, Karn Sharma, Josh Hazlewood, Jason Behrendorff, Krishnappa Gowtham, Mitchell Santner, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Hari Nishanth, N Jagadeesan, Cheteshwar Pujara, KM Asif, Harishankar Reddy, Bhagath Varma.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Eoin Morgan (captain), Dinesh Karthik, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Karun Nair, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathy, Shubman Gill, Harbhajan Singh, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Pawan Negi, M Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Dube, Tim Southee, Vaibhav Arora, Varun Chakravarthy, Andre Russel, Ben Cutting, Shakib Al Hasan, Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Sheldon Jackson, Tim Seifert.

Match starts: 1530 IST.

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