Chennai Super Kings v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL, Cape Town April 24, 2009

Tied teams look to avenge tough defeats

Match facts

April 25, 2009
Start time 16.45pm (14.45GMT)

Big Picture

Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders are level on points, having won one and lost two out of three games. Chennai's two losses, however, have come against strong opposition - Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils - while Kolkata were thrashed by Deccan Chargers and lost in the Super Over to Rajasthan Royals after the match ended in a tie.

Chennai will remain upbeat about their form despite the two defeats. They were without allrounder Albie Morkel for the first loss against Mumbai and were blitzed by AB de Villiers in the match against Delhi. They will also take heart from their batsmen, who challenged Delhi's imposing score of 189. However, the batting and bowling line-up has taken a hit with Andrew Flintoff being ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury.

Kolkata will have to forget their gut-wrenching loss against Rajasthan quickly and gear up for their toughest opponents of the tournament so far. They've relied on Chris Gayle and Sourav Ganguly to do the bulk of the scoring because Brendon McCullum and Brad Hodge haven't weighed in with significant contributions. Gayle leaves the IPL in a week's time so Kolkata will want to notch up as many wins as they can while he's in South Africa.

Form guide

Chennai: Matthew Hayden is the tournament's highest run-scorer with 166 runs at a strike-rate of 171 and has given his team excellent starts in the last two games.

Kolkata: Gayle has given his team powerful starts so far but Kolkata would want him to make a big contribution. The middle-order has been held together by Ganguly, who's doing a fine job of proving he's not unsuited to the Twenty20 format.

Watch out for

Gayle and McCullum v Chennai's new-ball attack: L Balaji and Manpreet Gony aren't the most fearsome new-ball bowlers in the tournament but they've managed to give Chennai an early breakthrough against both Bangalore and Delhi. They'll be gunning for Kolkata's openers, who are arguably the team's best batsmen.

Team news

Chennai are without Flintoff for the rest of the tournament, and while they have a ready bowling replacement in Makhaya Ntini, the hole left in the batting line-up will be harder to fill. They might consider playing Jacob Oram or the Sri Lankan allrounder Thilan Thushara.

Chennai: 1 Parthiv Patel, 2 Matthew Hayden, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 5 Albie Morkel, 6 Jacob Oram/Thilan Thushara, 7 S Badrinath, 8 Joginder Sharma, 9 L Balaji, 10 Manpreet Gony, 11 Muttiah Muralitharan.

Kolkata ran Rajasthan extremely close in their previous game and there are no obvious changes to their team.

Kolkata: 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Brendon McCullum (capt/wk), 3 Laxmi Shukla, 4 Brad Hodge, 5 Sourav Ganguly, 6 Sanjay Bangar, 7 Yashpal Singh, 8 Ajit Agarkar, 9 Ishant Sharma, 10 Ajantha Mendis, 11 Anureet Singh.

Head-to-head record

Hayden scored 70 off 49 balls to lead Chennai to a nine-wicket victory against Kolkata at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in 2008. The match at Eden Gardens was much closer with Chennai winning by three runs according to the D/L method.

George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo