Match Date: April 10
Venue: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
The grand carnival that is the return of Chennai Super Kings will continue when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday. They have already ended their two-year hiatus, having played and won against Mumbai Indians on Saturday, but this is perhaps the bigger occasion because they’re playing at home. Or as they like to call it, their den. Chennai’s fans haven’t seen them in action at Chepauk for more than two years, and can’t wait to throng the stadium and paint it yellow.
The manner of Chennai’s victory over Mumbai has only added to the excitement. They were down and out, reeling in what looked like an impossible chase, before Dwayne Bravo single-handedly lifted them from nowhere. Kedhar Jadhav too played his part despite an injured leg, sealing a thrilling one-wicket victory in the most CSK of fashions possible.
Chennai, though, will know the victory was nothing more than a jail-break, and that there are plenty of worries. The biggest is the injury to Jadhav; the middle-order batsman is likely to be out of action for a few weeks after pulling his hamstring. It means Ambati Rayudu, who opened the other night, could return to the middle order while M Vijay gets a go at the top. Chennai’s bowlers struggled towards the latter half too, but a return to the spin-friendly Chepauk should make them, and MS Dhoni, happy.
Up against Chennai will be a team led by another of the city’s favourites – Dinesh Karthik. Kolkata too started on a winning note by defeating Royal Challengers Bangalore at home with an all-round performance. Their bowlers did well to restrict the star-studded line-up, before Sunil Narine blasted them out in the chase.
If Chennai will enjoy a return to spin friendly conditions, so will Kolkata. They’ve got able spinners in Narine, Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav. Why, even Nitish Rana can claim to be a weapon – nobody else can claim to have taken AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli off successive balls!
Kolkata’s batting doesn’t ‘appear’ long, but if Narine can do the job at the top, he can reduce much of the middle order’s burden. He did that to perfection in the first game, before the experienced and in-form Karthik took over the finishing responsibilities with his newfound calmness.
Can he keep his calm and do the job for Kolkata, at his home in Chennai?
Played: 17, Chennai 10, Kolkata 6, No Result 1
Head-to-head in Chennai
Played 7, Chennai 5, Kolkata 2