Dwayne Smith has been in top form for CSK © PTI
By Bharath Ramaraj
May 19, 2014
In match No 47 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 7, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will take on Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at Eden Gardens. Kolkata have been on a roll in IPL 7, as they have won each of their last four games. In their previous match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kolkata beat them on their own home ground. On the other hand, Chennai lost their last game to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at home. Both teams, especially Chennai, will be eying a spot in the playoffs.
For Kolkata, Robin Uthappa and to a lesser extent Gautam Gambhir, have been in fine form. After Gambhir started the season on a bad note, he has notched up three fifties to get back to form. The middle-order of Kolkata hasn’t really been tested yet. They have done well only in fits and starts. However, in the game against Hyderabad, Yusuf Pathan and Ryan ten Doeschate held their nerve to win them the match.
Kolkata’s bowling has been led by Sunil Narine. With his box of tricks, he continues to trouble batsmen in IPL 7. Narine can turn the ball both ways without any discernible change in his action, and he is quick through the air as well and that makes it difficult for batsmen to go after him. Others like Morne Morkel, Piyush Chawla and Shakib-al-Hasan have been among the wickets, but have been a touch inconsistent.
For Chennai, the top-order batsmen have done well. Both Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum have been in fine fettle. Generally, the teams who have openers in fine form tend to do well in the shortest format of the game. Their skipper, MS Dhoni has chipped in with runs in times of crises. Suresh Raina too has come good when required. It remains to be seen how David Hussey, the replacement player for the injured Dwayne Bravo, plays for them.
Their bowling has largely depended on spin twins Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin. The bonus for them has been the form of medium pacer, Mohit Sharma. He has already taken 18 wickets in IPL 2014.
The track at Eden Gardens is expected to be on the slower side, and can favour spinners on occasions. It should turn out to be a good contest between two fine teams who are looking to qualify for the playoffs.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (c), Jacques Kallis, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Manvinder Bisla (wk), Ryan ten Doeschate, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Kuldeep Yadav, Pat Cummins, Debabrata Das, Piyush Chawla, Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Sayan Mondal, R Vinay Kumar, Andre Russell, Veer Pratap Singh.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Francois du Plessis, Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Ashish Nehra, Mohit Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Ben Hilfenhaus, John Hastings, Samuel Badree, Matt Henry, Mithun Manhas, Vijay Shankar, Ronit More, Baba Aparajith, Pawan Negi.
20.00 IST | 2.30 GMT
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(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)