Big picture – Tall asks for KKR in Chennai
In the list of most successful spin attacks in IPL 2023, Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings are at the top, taking second and third place with 37 and 35 wickets respectively, just behind Rajasthan Royals’ tally of 40. That’s pretty much the same, but CSK’s economy rate of 7.52 compared to KKR’s 8.14 gives them an advantage, aside from the massive support from the home crowd where the fans will come in large numbers.
More than spin, what separates the two teams is their at bat. CSK’s top position made for fiery starts in the power play, as KKR struggled with their opening combinations before finally settling for Jason Roy and Rahmanullah Gurbaz.
KKR has largely relied on their mid-order muscle this season, even lagging a few of those finishes. That may not work against CSK as their new death overs specialist Matheesha Pathirana only averaged 8.28 runs and an over in the final stages of this IPL, while also scoring 12 times in eight innings, with his mixed bag of tricks delivered with a cunning action.
In a must-win game to stay alive in the playoffs, KKR will have to be at their best against the red-hot CSK, who had hammered a record of 235 in the earlier game between the two teams in Kolkata.
Team News – can Ben Stokes break into the CSK XI
Dube has a finger nibble and is likely to be called in or out purely because of his at bat, as CSK did in their previous game against Delhi Capitals. Ben Stokes is up for selection but finds it difficult to break into the XI due to the four overseas slots limit.
Chennai super kings WWLLW (last five completed games, most recent first)
Knight Riders of Kolkata LWWWW
KKR will probably remain unchanged, ready to rely on their spin trio of Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy and Suyash Sharma, who will likely be on or off for one of the hitters along with Anukul Roy.
Knight Riders of Kolkata (probably XII): 1 Jason Roy, 2 Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), 3 Venkatesh Iyer4 Nitish Rana, 5 Andre Russell, 6 Rinku Singh, 7 Shardul Thakur, 8 Sunil Narine, 9 Harshit Rana, 10 Vaibhav Arora, 11 Varun Chakravarthy, 12 Suyash Sharma
Dube will likely be on or off with one of the bowlers in the front line depending on whether they bat or bowl first.
Super kings of Chennai (probably XII): 1 Devon Conway, 2 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 3 Ajinkya Rahane, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 Shivam Dube6 Moeen Ali, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 MS Dhoni (capt, wk), 9 Deepak Chahar, 10 Maheesh Theekshana, 11 Mathesha PathiranaTushar Deshpande 12
With an expected daytime temperature of 40 degrees Celsius, the evening will be extremely hot and humid. It remains to be seen if they throw out another black-soil pitch due to the spin resources in KKR, but it is expected to be sluggish again.