Knight Riders face a tall fort wall
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)
Kolkata Knight Riders were within touching distance of Chennai Super Kings just a week ago when the two met in Kolkata. Now, Super Kings are second on the table and are cruising ahead, while Knight Riders are still struggling to take off. They are seventh on the table at the halfway stage and need a massive turnaround in the remaining matches to finish in the top four. It will have to start in Chepauk, Super Kings' fortress that teams are increasingly finding hard to breach.
With the solid presence of Michael Hussey at the top, Super Kings' powerful batsmen are being laid ideal platforms in every game. MS Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja are not being pressurised to resurrect innings and when they start attacking, they are not the easiest to stop. Their bowling, however, can sometimes be slightly vulnerable and the line-up lacks a top-quality pacer up front.
Knight Riders could focus on these supposed frailties, but they have plenty of their own. Yusuf Pathan's spot in the side is both a mystery and an embarrassment and makes one wonder about the depth of patience the management have, because as an investment, he is not making any sense. Then, apart from their big three, no one really has shown any consistency for the team to rely upon. In Chennai, the focus will again be on their bowlers and their ability to counter the local batting threat. Since the game is in Chennai, the offspinner Sachithra Senanayake will have to sit out this game due to the ban on Sri Lankan players.
Chennai Super Kings: WWWWL
Kolkata Knight Riders: WLLLW
Players to watch
In Super Kings' last match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, MS Dhoni raised the game against a tough opposition. He single-handedly neutralised the Dale Steyn threat and bailed his team out. He is one of the few batsmen who can change gears without warning and especially thrives against slower bowlers, mysterious or not.
Jacques Kallis, one of Knight Riders' marquee players, bowled and batted with energy against Kings XI Punjab, showing no signs of the injury that had put his participation in doubt. He picked up two valuable wickets and scored a well-planned 37 just when the team needed it. Knight Riders will have one thing less to worry if he can lend similar all-round prowess in future matches,
Stats and trivia
- Suresh Raina is one short of becoming the second batsman to hit 100 sixes in the IPL.
- Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine have both taken 14 wickets this season. But whereas Narine bowls at an economy rate of 5.65, Bravo is expensive at 8.47
"If we keep on winning, we will be in the top half. We have the belief."
Knight Riders wicketkeeper Manvinder Bisla
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo