When the Chennai Super Kings meet the Kolkata Knight Riders on October 29 night at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, MS Dhoni’s side will be playing for the so-called ‘pride’ for the first time in the history of IPL. The term ‘pride’ is used when any team faces an inconsequential game since a win or loss is not going to make any impact on their play-off hopes as they are the only team which has been knocked out after playing a dozen of matches in this IPL 2020. However, KKR will be under pressure to win at any cost because that will give them some breathing space as far as making it to the top 4 is concerned.
Much water has moved around in the Arabian Sea
Since the first encounter between the two teams on October 7, the tide has turned dramatically. It was suspected that the-then KKR captain was on the verge of being replaced and he has now been replaced. Similarly, it was suspected that Dhoni’s aging warriors may have passed their shelf life and that has also been proved emphatically.
Both Dhoni and Karthik have been a poor shadow of themselves as batters in the middle order. Dhoni may have scored nearly 200 runs so far but a strike rate of below 120 hasn’t done any good and so has Karthik who has batted at every position from No.3 to No. 7 this season and yet has managed just less than 150 runs at a strike-rate of 120.
Similar opening blues
Besides the wicketkeeper-batsman struggles’ both teams also have similar kinds of problems at the very top. Both teams have tried 5 different batsmen for the opening slot and it’s not entirely surprising that the KKR and the CSK both have scored below 7 runs per over during the powerplay overs which is among the two of the worst scoring rates of all teams this season.
Biggest overseas match winner problems
If KKR is unhappy with the ordinary form of the Caribbean duo of Sunil Narine and Andre Russell then CSK can only regret not bringing in the most successful bowler of 2019, Imran Tahir, and Mitchell Santner earlier in the campaign. Shane Watson has disappointed CSK in the same way as Russell has for KKR.
Not history, present situation will matter more
Historically, CSK has dominated the KKR but in the last match it was the latter which emerged triumphant. More than ever, KKR would like to repeat the result in this reverse fixture.
Likely XI Chennai Super Kings: 1 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 2 Faf du Plessis, 3 Ambati Rayudu, 4 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 5 N Jagadeesan, 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Sam Curran, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Deepak Chahar, 10 Monu Kumar, 11 Imran Tahir.
Likely XI Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Shubman Gill, 2 Nitish Rana, 3 Rahul Tripathi, 4 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 5 Eoin Morgan (capt), 6 Sunil Narine, 7 Pat Cummins, 8 Kamlesh Nagarkoti, 9 Lockie Ferguson, 10 Varun Chakravarthy, 11 Prasidh Krishna.
(Vimal Kumar is a senior sports journalist who has covered multiple cricket world cups and Rio Olympics in the last two decades. Vimal is also the author of Sachin: Cricketer Of The Century and The Cricket Fanatic’s Essential Guide.)Follow Moneycontrol’s full coverage of IPL 2020 here