The second game of the IPL 2021 double-header on Thursday will see the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) take on the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. KKR skipper Eoin Morgan was relieved after his team ended the Chennai leg of their tournament as he found it tough to read the pitch.
A change of scenery could bring in fresh confidence in the KKR ranks, who need it after back-to-back losses. CSK, on the other hand, are flying after winning their last two games on the trot. Their all-rounders are doing the damage at the moment and it is holding them in good stead.
3 batsmen to watch out for in CSK vs KKR encounter
Wankhede Stadium is known to witness run-fests and, with both teams having some incredible power-hitters in their ranks, another high-scoring game might be on the cards. On this note, let's have a look at three batsmen who could end up being the highest run-scorers in this encounter.
#3 Andre Russell
Andre Russell scored 510 runs in the IPL 2019 season and was tormenting bowling attacks. However, that dropped to just 117 runs last season in the UAE. The pitch in Chennai this season has not suited power-hitting and as a result, Russell has struggled in the first two games.
Although KKR lost their last game, Russell showed signs of returning to form, scoring a breezy cameo of 31. The surface at Wankhede, coupled with its shorter boundaries, seems to be tailor-made for Russell's exploits.
Having already picked up six wickets with the ball, it is time for Russell to explode with the bat too. The big Jamaican was sent out to bat at No.7 in the last game, but that might not be the case at the Wankhede. If he gets to bat enough overs, Russell can single-handedly destroy the CSK bowling attack.
#2 Nitish Rana
Sunil Narine's failure at the top of the order last year also had its effect on his opening partner Shubman Gill. However, when KKR decided to promote left-hander Nitish Rana to the top of the order, the move worked like a charm.
Rana's consistency towards the backend of last season has continued, as he is currently KKR's leading run-scorer at the moment with 155 runs from three games. Having been with the Mumbai Indians earlier, Rana has played some memorable knocks at the Wankhede and knows the pitch well.
His ability to make full use of the powerplay overs will come in handy for KKR against CSK. If Rana finds his rhythm and gets off to a start, he might prove to be almost unstoppable.
#1 Moeen Ali
Arguably the most in-form all-rounder in the tournament at the moment, Moeen Ali has been one of the signings of the season so far. The CSK all-rounder has taken to the No.3 spot in the batting order as a fish takes to the water, scoring 108 runs in three games at a strike-rate of 144.
He was instrumental in CSK's win in their previous game against the Rajasthan Royals as his brilliant figures of 3-7 triggered a magnificent collapse. Ali has got starts with the bat in all three games but has not been able to convert them into big scores.
However, he is in fine form for CSK and is due a big innings which may well come against KKR. If he finds his groove and gets his eye in, Ali's counter-attacking style of batting could prove to be too tough to handle for KKR.