Date: Monday, April 30
Venue: M.A. Chidambaram stadium, Chennai
Time: 20:00 (14:30 GMT)
Gautam Gambhir is clearly the best batsman Kolkata Knight Riders has. After notching up a cracking 93 off 51 balls in their win over RCB in the last game, he has also widened the gap that separates him and his other teammates. The KKR skipper now has 302 runs from his eight outings at 43.14 and with three fifties. The next man on the list of run-scorers is Kallis with 157 runs at 22.42. Sunil Narine has been their best bowler on any surface.
Chennai also has a similar story and it revolves around Faf du Plessis, who has waged sole battles every time his team has won. The whole batting line-up has looked out of sorts,with negligible contributions from the skipper too. Yet they have won crucial matches from tough positions and that’s a measure of their ability to sustain pressure.
KKR now sits in the second position on the points table while Chennai is at fourth. Both the teams have won their last matches with Chennai winning three out of their last five while Kolkata winning four.
Players to watch out for:
Gautam Gambhir – Gambhir is on a roll. He scored fluently on a pitch where the best of the batsmen from both sides struggled. He will be oozing with confidence coming in to this crucial encounter.
Sunil Narine – The West Indian off-spinner is the find of the season. It was evident from the way Mike Hussey heaved a sigh of relief after hearing of his unavailability for the Test matches against Australia. Narine has picked up 11 wickets from his eight games so far in the IPL with his best being 5/19.
Faf du Plessis – du Plessis should perform like he has in each of Chennai’s victory so far. The South African has been a pillar of strength for Chennai at the top of the order with 331 runs from eight outings.
Head-to-Head: Super Kings have won five out of their seven IPL games against Knight Riders.
- Yusuf Pathan’s loss of form has been a major concern for KKR.
- The team has had trouble organising their foreign recruits, largely because star players like Kallis have been performing below expectations.
- Chennai has been playing with an almost unchanged line up since the first game. It has pros and cons.
- Opening has been a major concern for the team which once boasted of openers like Matt Hayden.
Prediction: A cracker of a game with KKR holding an edge over Chennai Super Kings.