Knight Riders v Super Kings, IPL 2014, Kolkata May 19, 2014

Knight Riders wary of middle-order rust

33

Play 02:32
Prasad: KKR in form, but hard to pick a winner

Match facts

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)

Big Picture

A run of four victories have lifted Kolkata Knight Riders to a decent position amid the mad scramble for the final playoff spot and similar success over Chennai Super Kings, who are almost assured of progress, would bolster their case immensely.

Chasing has become Knight Riders' strength since reworking their personnel and batting order. It might well be their preferred route forward in the wake of Super Kings' relentless batting line-up, tying them down at Eden Gardens with their assortment of spinners. There are indications that it might work: Suresh Raina stumbled to a half-century and his team-mates could not decipher a slow turner in Ranchi and lost "10 runs if not more" in the death according to MS Dhoni.

However, the Super Kings captain was unconcerned with the defeat. They have enough bowling resources to exploit spin-friendly pitches, and it was on show as they ran Royal Challengers Bangalore close on Sunday, and batting malfunctions are relatively rare. The openers' failure was a contributing factor and Brendon McCullum, briefly returning home for the birth of his child, will hope to fly out on a winning note.

Knight Riders' middle order fails in inspiring the same confidence as their Sunil Narine-led attack. Yusuf Pathan exploded in celebration after he fulfilled his role as a finisher against Sunrisers Hyderabad, hinting at the pressure he might have been under after another scratchy season. Though their bowlers have limited the oppositions to below 150 in three successive games, Knight Riders have needed their openers to do most of the work. Now is probably the best time for the middle order to shake off the rust that's gathered.

Form guide

Kolkata Knight Riders: WWWWL (completed games, most recent first)
Chennai Super Kings: LWWLW

Where they stand

Kolkata Knight Riders: Fourth place, with 12 points from 11 games
Chennai Super Kings: Second, with 16 points from 11 games

Previous encounter

The two sides squared off on the IPL's return to India and immediately spin took centrestage. Super Kings were in the midst of a 'who's the better opener' competition and McCullum took the honours in Ranchi. His half-century set up a target of 149 in 17 overs after accommodating for rain. However, Knight Riders' chase tanked against the accuracy of Ravindra Jadeja (4-12) and R Ashwin (1-21), who picked up three wickets in five balls inside the Powerplay to usher their side to a comfortable 34-run victory.

Watch out for

With pitches around the country wearing under the summer heat, Samuel Badree might expect to feature in the XI more regularly. He excels at limiting a batsman's scoring areas and exploiting the pressure created to make inroads, but only two wickets in three games indicates he would do well to have Plans B, C and D in place.

Shakib Al Hasan has the ability to clear most grounds and it has led him to attempt too many shots sometimes. A more sedate approach in the middle overs could foster more solidity lower down the order. Should he manage that, his value as an allrounder - his four overs strangle oppositions even in the Powerplay - will rise further.

Stats and trivia

  • Knight Riders's longest unbeaten streak is six wins in 2012

  • Chennai Super Kings are the only team to have three players - Mohit Sharma, Jadeja and Ashwin - in the top-ten wicket-takers list this season

Quotes

"It is a great position to bat at since I get a chance to plan my innings and assess the situation better."
Kolkata Knight Riders allrounder Yusuf Pathan enjoyed his promotion to No.4 against Sunrisers

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ASK3 on May 20, 2014, 1:55 GMT

    @BigINDFan and @D-Coach, you guys need to realise that firstly Dhoni is shuffling through his side; with playoffs all but guaranteed, he'll want a side that can bat/bowl completely to the situation and not out of form; Hussey is a solid batsman who can hit a long way and can bowl some very economical overs, the Big Bash showed that. Furthermore, the reason why he picked Hussey over Badree would be that Yuvi was facing and with an off spinner, he'd get the ball away from Yuvi not into him like Badree; if he got it right, every fan would be praising him on how innovative Dhoni is!

  • on May 20, 2014, 14:31 GMT

    kar r favourite keeping in view their current form doesn't matters whatever combination of players they go with.

  • sumit1982 on May 20, 2014, 14:20 GMT

    It is time KKR must give u19 India world cup china man spinner Kuldeep Yadav chance in place of chawla.

  • on May 20, 2014, 14:16 GMT

    KKR should keep the winning combination for the rest of the game .This team is like a peril team can beat any team .Perfect combination just need to keep the players in the right position where they used to play .Sakib should be in no 3 .KKR might gets something good from him as well as he known as a all rounder .Best of luck KKR .

  • StevieS on May 20, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    If I were KKR I would bring in the big match players in these must win games so Kallis, Ryan T D, Narine and Morkle would be my overseas players.

  • on May 20, 2014, 10:34 GMT

    I strongly propsed kkr to send shakib for bat at no 3. All the best for kkr.

  • shazidctg on May 20, 2014, 9:56 GMT

    gambir think it, when u pick uttppa as opener he perform, same as pattan. i know that will work just check their carrier, u simple find that but u still work will wrong plan, if u want to win against a champian, u should be at ur best position. i assure u, ur plan 1 will fail surely, go for plan B and C that will make u win. ur batting line should be as i say from match three gg uttappa sakib patan panday tendo das/SKY chawla narin morkel UY. uttapa sakib patan tendo will give able make a ave score 180 that is a wining one form the blowing line-up KKR have.

  • Mr.CricketJKNotHussey on May 20, 2014, 8:17 GMT

    @Robtyson As an Indian fan, shouldn't you support Kings XI, CSK, RR, RCB, MI, SRH since their teams depend on Indian bowling for the most part. India has an abundance of batsmen, it needs good bowlers and all the teams you listed have provided them. Sandeep, Akshar, Shivam, Mohit, Pandey, Bhuvi, Tambe, Aaron, Chahal, Bumrah. Besides, RR relies equally on Indians such as Nair and Rahane for their batting. RCB's late ressurgance has come thanks to Yuvraj. MI needs Rohit to fire to do well and Rayudu has been one of their best batsmen. Vohra, Saha and Sehwag have all done well for KXIP too. All these teams have assigned particular roles to their overseas players and the Indians have stepped up to do the rest (at least for KXIP, RR and CSK).

  • on May 20, 2014, 8:03 GMT

    even as a kkr supporter one has to admit that chennai are the perfect all-round t20 side so they are more likely than not to walk it this afternoon. but in an ipl trophy that has thrown up more exciting new players than for several years aren't csk a bit, well, dull and predictable? dhoni has built a hugely competent winning side, but for non-supporters they don't really stir the blood

  • Robtyson on May 20, 2014, 7:44 GMT

    As an Indian fan, Happy about KKR as they are the only team that relies on Indian batsmen on the top 4. Their batting is completely reliant on Indian batsmen unlike other teams like Kings XI,CSK, RR,RCB,MI,SRH. Hope they continue their good form and make it to play-offs.Go KKR!!!

  • ASK3 on May 20, 2014, 1:55 GMT

    @BigINDFan and @D-Coach, you guys need to realise that firstly Dhoni is shuffling through his side; with playoffs all but guaranteed, he'll want a side that can bat/bowl completely to the situation and not out of form; Hussey is a solid batsman who can hit a long way and can bowl some very economical overs, the Big Bash showed that. Furthermore, the reason why he picked Hussey over Badree would be that Yuvi was facing and with an off spinner, he'd get the ball away from Yuvi not into him like Badree; if he got it right, every fan would be praising him on how innovative Dhoni is!

  • on May 20, 2014, 14:31 GMT

    kar r favourite keeping in view their current form doesn't matters whatever combination of players they go with.

  • sumit1982 on May 20, 2014, 14:20 GMT

    It is time KKR must give u19 India world cup china man spinner Kuldeep Yadav chance in place of chawla.

  • on May 20, 2014, 14:16 GMT

    KKR should keep the winning combination for the rest of the game .This team is like a peril team can beat any team .Perfect combination just need to keep the players in the right position where they used to play .Sakib should be in no 3 .KKR might gets something good from him as well as he known as a all rounder .Best of luck KKR .

  • StevieS on May 20, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    If I were KKR I would bring in the big match players in these must win games so Kallis, Ryan T D, Narine and Morkle would be my overseas players.

  • on May 20, 2014, 10:34 GMT

    I strongly propsed kkr to send shakib for bat at no 3. All the best for kkr.

  • shazidctg on May 20, 2014, 9:56 GMT

    gambir think it, when u pick uttppa as opener he perform, same as pattan. i know that will work just check their carrier, u simple find that but u still work will wrong plan, if u want to win against a champian, u should be at ur best position. i assure u, ur plan 1 will fail surely, go for plan B and C that will make u win. ur batting line should be as i say from match three gg uttappa sakib patan panday tendo das/SKY chawla narin morkel UY. uttapa sakib patan tendo will give able make a ave score 180 that is a wining one form the blowing line-up KKR have.

  • Mr.CricketJKNotHussey on May 20, 2014, 8:17 GMT

    @Robtyson As an Indian fan, shouldn't you support Kings XI, CSK, RR, RCB, MI, SRH since their teams depend on Indian bowling for the most part. India has an abundance of batsmen, it needs good bowlers and all the teams you listed have provided them. Sandeep, Akshar, Shivam, Mohit, Pandey, Bhuvi, Tambe, Aaron, Chahal, Bumrah. Besides, RR relies equally on Indians such as Nair and Rahane for their batting. RCB's late ressurgance has come thanks to Yuvraj. MI needs Rohit to fire to do well and Rayudu has been one of their best batsmen. Vohra, Saha and Sehwag have all done well for KXIP too. All these teams have assigned particular roles to their overseas players and the Indians have stepped up to do the rest (at least for KXIP, RR and CSK).

  • on May 20, 2014, 8:03 GMT

    even as a kkr supporter one has to admit that chennai are the perfect all-round t20 side so they are more likely than not to walk it this afternoon. but in an ipl trophy that has thrown up more exciting new players than for several years aren't csk a bit, well, dull and predictable? dhoni has built a hugely competent winning side, but for non-supporters they don't really stir the blood

  • Robtyson on May 20, 2014, 7:44 GMT

    As an Indian fan, Happy about KKR as they are the only team that relies on Indian batsmen on the top 4. Their batting is completely reliant on Indian batsmen unlike other teams like Kings XI,CSK, RR,RCB,MI,SRH. Hope they continue their good form and make it to play-offs.Go KKR!!!

  • mahafuz_mannan on May 20, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    As long as KKR leave Jack Kalis out of the squad they will do good

  • on May 20, 2014, 7:19 GMT

    On kolkata spining pitch kkr can come as surprised package 2day by bringing bck kallis over morkel nd replacing china man kudlep yadav over surya yadav.....playing 4 spinners on this track can be prolific to the csk...i think by sweeping over csk it will b good 2 see d team lyk tht...

  • ladycricfan on May 20, 2014, 6:50 GMT

    Uthappa has been scoring heavily since he was moved to open and been winning matches for KKR. Law of averages will catch up with him today. If Faf is still not fit CSK will play the same XI. CSK's both openers are attacking players. But if one opener falls early other one should try to stick around. Looking forward to a cracking match.

  • Dharmic_Raja on May 20, 2014, 6:33 GMT

    @Black_Bird: This is one of the comical comment I have seen.I don't know whether u are following IPL or not because he wasn't expensive in this IPL and he is one of the economical bowler who can take a wicket or two and also has the ability to bat with a decent strike rate.I don't even think that Yusuf can be compared to Shakib when it comes to bowling. Shakib bowling figures against Chennai in the previous encounter 4-0-25-2- 6.25 .

  • zinuk222 on May 20, 2014, 5:53 GMT

    Shakib can't win a match for KKR by his batting. Because he is not a slogger or power hitter. If he plays he should bat No.3 position then only he can contributes by his bat. He can be aggressive at first 6 overs. KKR can pick Chris Lynn in place of shakib as a slogger and then pick chinaman spinner kuldiv. But main problem is all KKR batsman wants to bat higher up the order. KKR badly missing a finisher like ABD, MSD,Miller,smith. So my opinion If KKR plays Shakib as a bowling alrounder then its ok.But if as a batting alrounder then he should bat No.3, otherwise drop him. As a bangladeshi, i know shakib is not a physically strong player who can scores 20 runs over. RTD is a big player and if KKR wants to score big then he should play maximum delivery.

  • on May 20, 2014, 5:43 GMT

    On kolkata spining pitch kkr can come as surprised package 2day by bringing bck kallis over morkel nd replacing china man kudlep yadav over surya yadav.....playing 4 spinners on this track can be prolific to the csk...i think by sweeping over csk it will b good 2 see d team lyk tht...

  • on May 20, 2014, 5:38 GMT

    @ASK3...It was yuvi who was on strike and with the form he was in and given that it was the last over needing 10 runs he was going to slog the ball anyway. Taking the ball away from him would not have made any difference. You need a line and length,containing type of bowler to bowl in that over so that the batsmen cannot slog it easily. So badree should have bowled it.Not David Hussey who was taken apart in his previous over. It was a gamble from Dhoni and it didnt work!

  • on May 20, 2014, 5:23 GMT

    I would like to see Lin to strengthen the batting order in the position of Morkel and Binoy Kumar in the position of Jadav.

  • Mr.CricketJKNotHussey on May 20, 2014, 5:23 GMT

    @ASK3 That is fine, but CSK needs to be smart about it. KXIP shuffled their side too, but they didn't make drastic changes. Hussey hasn't been in form for quite some time and was quite literally plucked fromt he commentary box. Its kind of unfair on him to be expected to do so much. An all rounder like Hastings or even a proper bowler like Henry will provide much more balance to the side. The off spinning reasoning against Yuvraj is fine...if its in the middle overs. At the death, spinners will almost always go to the boundary, unless its someone special like Narine, and even he has been hit at the death. Plus, in order to trouble a proper batsman, you need a genuine bowler, not a part timer. Hussey is the type of bowler who fills in for others if needed, or if nothing else works. Dhoni still had three proper bowlers he could use, one of whom was his death over specialist. This could potentially lower the other bowlers' confidence.

  • on May 20, 2014, 4:53 GMT

    Shakib is good allround player and also he is game winner, God bless him.

  • D-Coach on May 20, 2014, 4:48 GMT

    @ASK3 We understand what dhoni does but was it meaningful? Was Jadaja looks like off spinner to bowl 19th over? We do not have meaningful answer for any of the moves he did. I am a Dhoni fan but not for such stupid things and saying testing. Simply he is not aware how to build the bowler confidence. I can feel Mohit, Ishwar and Badree could have left the field with hard hearted because of Dhoni innovative foolishness. Any one of the confident bowler will feel the last match loss ass disaster and feel the pain as being in the playing 11 and their inability showcase.

    End of this all, hope CSK bowlers will come hard to show as they did many times in this series other than Maxwell show. Without playing even single proper innings in this IPL7, Dhoni steal the front page three times continuously. He is smart in and out cricketer. Mostly he relies on other teams weakness rather show his power. It is worth not always as he did against KxiP 2nd match.

    Only KKR can stop Maxwell show ;)

  • on May 20, 2014, 4:31 GMT

    feel like today i am gonna witness at least 28 out of 40 overs of spin sharing in between Aswin,Badree,Hussey, Jadeja,Narine,Shakib and Piyush

  • black_bird on May 20, 2014, 3:37 GMT

    KKR should drop shakib to win this match. Last match he was too expensive. AND csk is very good at playing average spinners like shakib. Bring back bishla in place of shakib. Yusuf can bowl better than shakib.

  • Avi56 on May 20, 2014, 2:21 GMT

    i think CSK will play a better match than the last with RCB...mainly becos it is on a Kolkata track much bettr than the hideous Ranchi one...it will be good for the spinners..but also for a batsmen who sticks to his wicket. If CSK wins and RCB wins against SRH...My god it will be such a crazy tournament and a Cracker when RCb meet KKR in their den.

  • on May 19, 2014, 22:11 GMT

    If Chennai pulls this off tomorrow, then it would fancy Bangalore's chances of making it to the playoffs. Chennai has an awesome batting line up. Let's just hope that the bowling could put a better show the next day.

    Bangalore vs Hyderabad would be interesting and Bangalore really needs to pull this off if they want to make it to the playoffs. Both matches tomorrow are interesting.

  • on May 19, 2014, 20:03 GMT

    Robin uttappa atleast he should stay 17 overs ..he is good in spines ..bt consistency is imp opening gg.ru..very imp hope fr best 100 runs partenership..Robie good in kolkatha pitches..lets hope finger cross to kkr

  • on May 19, 2014, 18:58 GMT

    how to beat kkr . field first get openers cheaply csk should have baba aparajith in place of samuel badree and that overseas slot will be given to faf or john Hastings otherwise they should continue playing with same eleven

  • Rakes7 on May 19, 2014, 17:48 GMT

    Kkr need to tight their feilding.against them the opposite team easily convert 1run to 2 that the area they should concerned about.apart from that the other departments are good.the middle order scored some runs in previous match that böost their confidence. Morne morkel was up and down in the whole season. so he need to step up.as all we know he is very dangerious in his day.so kkr should retain same team.kkr xi-1gambhir,2uthappa ,3pandey,4yusuf, 5rayn ten,6sakib,7yadav,8chawla,9narine, 10morkel,11umesh

  • D-Coach on May 19, 2014, 16:37 GMT

    Few ridiculous decisions by Dhoni is last match against RCB. 1. He selected Batting First, 2. He played very casual to get out, 3. Why he send D.Hussy ahead of Manhas where he is suppose to play finisher Role, 4. What smartness / experiment Dhoni is thinking to give D.Hussy to bowl at death 16,18,20 to give 38 runs in less than three overs in a low scoring match, 5. Is this the way you welcome a new recruit to handle such a pressure in his first match from commentary box. 6. Dhoni expected the match to get completed in 19 but Jaddu (LegSpin) rocked and kept the match alive unexpectedly.

    If Dhoni can avoide 50% this attitude in the upcoming matches, CSK will rock. Lets pray Dhoni to do something sensible within his power as we had enough actions in this IPL. He seems not a confidence man once the openers are out. He cannot persist with such attitude as CSK never accelerated rightly in the middle and end of the innings throughout the serious without openers. All the best CSK.

  • BigINDFan on May 19, 2014, 16:33 GMT

    MSD will of course commit more blunders with rotating his bowlers and blame anything he can get hold of. He lacks the hunger to win matches. For this match he should come in at No. 3 and play a powerful innings all the way through.

    KKR should send Shakib up the order to maximize the first 10 overs. YP is getting better which is a good sign for KKR.

    In the end it will come down to who can stop the Max-Miller show!

  • a4abhik on May 19, 2014, 16:23 GMT

    @Warm_Coffee , They DO have excellent pacers. Two genuine quicks, in Morne Morkel and Pat Cummins, with constant support from Jack Kallis and Umesh Yadav when needed. How many more pacers does one side need in IPL or any T20 match?

  • British_North_America on May 19, 2014, 14:41 GMT

    Warm_Coffee They never had renowned power hitters but they managed to win in 2012.

  • Warm_Coffee on May 19, 2014, 13:21 GMT

    Spinning pitches and KKR playing at home should really be strong favourites to win at least 2 of those remaining 3 games and qualify for the play-offs. But they are not good enough to win the tournament as they lack enough good pacers and firepower in batting.

  • Warm_Coffee on May 19, 2014, 13:21 GMT

    Spinning pitches and KKR playing at home should really be strong favourites to win at least 2 of those remaining 3 games and qualify for the play-offs. But they are not good enough to win the tournament as they lack enough good pacers and firepower in batting.

  • British_North_America on May 19, 2014, 14:41 GMT

    Warm_Coffee They never had renowned power hitters but they managed to win in 2012.

  • a4abhik on May 19, 2014, 16:23 GMT

    @Warm_Coffee , They DO have excellent pacers. Two genuine quicks, in Morne Morkel and Pat Cummins, with constant support from Jack Kallis and Umesh Yadav when needed. How many more pacers does one side need in IPL or any T20 match?

  • BigINDFan on May 19, 2014, 16:33 GMT

    MSD will of course commit more blunders with rotating his bowlers and blame anything he can get hold of. He lacks the hunger to win matches. For this match he should come in at No. 3 and play a powerful innings all the way through.

    KKR should send Shakib up the order to maximize the first 10 overs. YP is getting better which is a good sign for KKR.

    In the end it will come down to who can stop the Max-Miller show!

  • D-Coach on May 19, 2014, 16:37 GMT

    Few ridiculous decisions by Dhoni is last match against RCB. 1. He selected Batting First, 2. He played very casual to get out, 3. Why he send D.Hussy ahead of Manhas where he is suppose to play finisher Role, 4. What smartness / experiment Dhoni is thinking to give D.Hussy to bowl at death 16,18,20 to give 38 runs in less than three overs in a low scoring match, 5. Is this the way you welcome a new recruit to handle such a pressure in his first match from commentary box. 6. Dhoni expected the match to get completed in 19 but Jaddu (LegSpin) rocked and kept the match alive unexpectedly.

    If Dhoni can avoide 50% this attitude in the upcoming matches, CSK will rock. Lets pray Dhoni to do something sensible within his power as we had enough actions in this IPL. He seems not a confidence man once the openers are out. He cannot persist with such attitude as CSK never accelerated rightly in the middle and end of the innings throughout the serious without openers. All the best CSK.

  • Rakes7 on May 19, 2014, 17:48 GMT

    Kkr need to tight their feilding.against them the opposite team easily convert 1run to 2 that the area they should concerned about.apart from that the other departments are good.the middle order scored some runs in previous match that böost their confidence. Morne morkel was up and down in the whole season. so he need to step up.as all we know he is very dangerious in his day.so kkr should retain same team.kkr xi-1gambhir,2uthappa ,3pandey,4yusuf, 5rayn ten,6sakib,7yadav,8chawla,9narine, 10morkel,11umesh

  • on May 19, 2014, 18:58 GMT

    how to beat kkr . field first get openers cheaply csk should have baba aparajith in place of samuel badree and that overseas slot will be given to faf or john Hastings otherwise they should continue playing with same eleven

  • on May 19, 2014, 20:03 GMT

    Robin uttappa atleast he should stay 17 overs ..he is good in spines ..bt consistency is imp opening gg.ru..very imp hope fr best 100 runs partenership..Robie good in kolkatha pitches..lets hope finger cross to kkr

  • on May 19, 2014, 22:11 GMT

    If Chennai pulls this off tomorrow, then it would fancy Bangalore's chances of making it to the playoffs. Chennai has an awesome batting line up. Let's just hope that the bowling could put a better show the next day.

    Bangalore vs Hyderabad would be interesting and Bangalore really needs to pull this off if they want to make it to the playoffs. Both matches tomorrow are interesting.

  • Avi56 on May 20, 2014, 2:21 GMT

    i think CSK will play a better match than the last with RCB...mainly becos it is on a Kolkata track much bettr than the hideous Ranchi one...it will be good for the spinners..but also for a batsmen who sticks to his wicket. If CSK wins and RCB wins against SRH...My god it will be such a crazy tournament and a Cracker when RCb meet KKR in their den.