IPL 2013 Preview: Kolkata Knight Riders seek crucial away win against dominant Chennai Super Kings

At the moment, Kolkata Knight Riders (above) are languishing at the seventh spot in the points table while the Chennai Super Kings are second with 12 points © IANS

By Prakash Govindasreenivasan
 
Chennai: Apr 27, 2013
 
Gautam Gambhir-led Kolkata Knight Riders travel down south to take on MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in the 38th match of the Indian Premier League 2013 on Sunday.
 
The Kolkata side put an end to their woeful run of form with a comfortable victory over the Kings XI Punjab at home on Friday. However, they have been very ordinary away from home. While facing a dominant Chennai side in their own backyard, Kolkata will have their task cut out.
 
At the moment, the Knight Riders are languishing at the seventh spot in the points table while the Chennai Super Kings are second with 12 points. Dhoni’s men are on a winning spree, with the skipper himself orchestrating their previous win over the Sunrisers Hyderabad. They are slowly, but steadily, turning into the monstrous side they have always been. They had a shaky start this season, but that is clearly a thing of the past at the moment.
 
As for the Knight Riders, they have been too inconsistent for their own good. They seem to have failed to handle the pressure of being defending champions and have just three wins from eight matches. For them to challenge for the title again, they need close to six wins from their remaining eight matches.
 
For the Chennai side, Michael Hussey has been instrumental at providing explosive starts after which the middle-order have consolidated well. It was his quickfire knock of 45 against the Sunrisers Hyderabad that set the tone for their run chase. Suresh Raina and Dhoni have been the vital cog of the Chennai middle-order and will hope to put on another good show against Kolkata. Chennai’s bowling unit has been a surprise with unknown entities like Jason Holder and Chris Morris doing well. Even Mohit Sharma has grabbed onto the opportunities that have been thrown his way and has done well to secure his spot in the playing eleven.
 
As for Kolkata, skipper Gambhir needs to lead from the front. His form, along with that of veteran Jacques Kallis would be crucial. If they manage to lay a solid foundation at the start, middle-order batsman Eoin Morgan has the ability to take the game away from the opposition in a matter of a couple of overs. Gambhir will rely heavily on Sunil Narine to run through Chennai’s batting line-up. Narine has carried his form over from the previous edition of the tournament and is undoubtedly KKR’s biggest weapon. It will be interesting to see who plays in place of Sri Lankan Sachitra Senanayake who will have to sit out owing to the match being played at Chennai.
 
Chennai Super Kings seem too strong a side for the Kolkata Knight Riders at the moment, but Gambhir is not the sort who will go down without a fight. One can expect to see Kolkata play out of their skins and test Dhoni’s resolve in this crunch tie. 
 
 
Teams:
 
Chennai Super Kings (Probable): Michael Hussey, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Chris Morris, Subramanium Badrinath, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jason Holder, Mohit Sharma.
 
Kolkata Knight Riders (Probable): Manvinder Bisla (wk), Gautam Gambhir (c), Yusuf Pathan, Jacques Kallis, Eoin Morgan, Debabrata Das, Rajat Bhatia, Brett Lee, Sunil Narine, Sarabjit Ladda, Lakshmipathy Balaji.
 

Time: 16.00 IST | 10.30 GMT

(Prakash Govindasreenivasan is an Editorial consultant at CricketCountry and a sports fanatic, with a soft corner for cricket. After studying journalism for two years, came the first big high in his professional life – the opportunity to interview his hero Adam Gilchrist and talking about his magnificent 149 in the 2007 World Cup final. While not following cricket, he is busy rooting for Chelsea FC)