With consecutive victories under their belt, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings will look too put in another strong performance when they face a struggling Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday.
After their disappointing campaign in the UAE last year, Chennai started this season with a loss to Delhi Capitals in their tournament opener.
But since then, the Dhoni and Co have impressed with their disciplined performances and earned victories over Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals.
|Mat||KKR wins||CSK wins|
Deepak Chahar’s brilliance handed them their first win of the season against Punjab Kings and after that, English all-rounders Moeen Ali and Sam Curran have been key performers for Chennai.
Ali has embraced the No 3 spot with knocks of 36 from 24 (vs Delhi Capitals), 46 off 31 (Punjab Kings) and 26 off 20 in his match-winning show against Rajasthan Royals on Monday. He is also quietly doing the job with his off-spin with Dhoni using him effectively in the middle overs.
While Ravindra Jadeja dismissed the dangerous looking Jos Buttler and Shivam Dube in one over, Ali accounted for David Miller, Riyan Parag and Chris Morris in his match-turning 3/7.
Curran has also made some impact both with the bat and ball. Be it his 15-ball 34 in a losing cause against Delhi Capitals or his bowling in the powerplay, Curran is giving Dhoni many options.
Against a side which will play its first match of the season at the Wankhede, smarting from two successive defeats, the Dhoni-led CSK will start as favourites against KKR as Eoin Morgan is likely to ring in some changes to revive their campaign.
After their emphatic start against Sunrisers Hyderabad, KKR have stumbled with defeats to Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
And in both the defeats, the Morgan-led side had the upper hand but could not capitalise on their starts.
Varun Chakravarthy had dismissed Virat Kohli and Rajat Patidar in a span of five balls to have RCB in a spot of bother with 9/2 inside two overs. But Morgan took the mystery spinner out of the attack and brought in Shakib-Al-Hasan as Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers powered them to 204/4.
It remains to be seen if Morgan persists with Shakib or brings in Aussie all-rounder Ben Cutting in the less spin-friendly conditions.
Morgan also has persisted with veteran Harbhajan Singh and gave him the opening overs in all the three matches. Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav is the other spin option in the squad.
Head coach Brendon McCullum has already hinted at making some changes after their 38-run defeat to RCB.
KKR: Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Tim Seifert, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Shivam Mavi, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Rahul Tripathi, Varun Chakravarthy, Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Harbhajan Singh, Karun Nair, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer and Pawan Negi.
CSK: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, KM Asif, Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, N Jagadeesan, Karn Sharma, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shardul Thakur, Sam Curran, Josh Hazlewood, R Sai Kishore, Robin Uthappa, Moeen Ali, Krishnappa Gowtham, Cheteshwar Pujara, M Harisankar Reddy, K Bhagath Varma and C Hari Nishaanth.
Match starts at 7.30 pm IST on Wednesday.
(With inputs from PTI)
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