Date: 21 April 2021
Time: 7:30 pm (IST)
Venue: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Live Ball-by-Ball Commentary: SportsTiger App
The Kolkata Knight Riders will be up against Chennai Super Kings in the evening match of the second double header of the Indian Premier League this Wednesday. Well into the second half of the competition, Kolkata haven't really got the results they were looking for in their three matches. While they started off with a win over Sunrisers Hyderabad, they have since then stumbled to defeat against Mumbai Indians as well as the Royal Challengers Bangalore. With this, KKR have completed their matches in Chennai and have moved to Mumbai where Chennai have seemingly mastered the conditions.
On a wicket at Wankhede where usually spinners are taken to the cleaners, their spinners spun a weapon around Rajasthan Royals to stitch their second win in three games, the other one coming against Punjab Kings after their defeat vs Delhi Capitals in their first match. The stage is set then for another blockbuster in Mumbai where the power hitters and stroke makers of the Shahrukh Khan co-owned team will fancy their chances but they will face off against a Dhoni-led side who are using their resources to their potential to get the desired results. GAME ON!
Kolkata Knight Riders:
Clearly the Knights haven't got the results. However, head coach Brendon McCullum made it clear they can consider Sunil Narine in place of Shakib Al Hasan for the next match after he missed out owing to the latter's utility with the bat. The franchise has used Narine at the top of the order previously and it would be interesting to see where he gets to bat, in case he gets a game against CSK. With the team now set to play in Mumbai, one could also replace Harbhajan Singh with probably a seam bowling option but that call would depend on the captain's reading of the pitch.
Chennai Super Kings:
Chennai Super Kings are not firm believers of making too many changes and are likely to stick with the same XI. Although one gets the feeling that Lungi Ngidi might be tried at some stage during the competition, that is not their plan at Wankhede where they have already registered two wins. Another win and they would be alarm bells in the dugouts of the sides that had ruled them out as a contender for the playoffs! For ardent followers of the IPL know a simple thumb rule - never ever rule out Chennai from a contest.
Head to Head (in IPL):
Matches played: 22
Kolkata Knight Riders: 8
Chennai Super Kings: 14
The addition of Moeen Ali has changed the entire dynamics of the Chennai squad. Not only do they suddenly have more options with the ball, they have a dependable number 3 who can score freely at the top and relies on timing rather than power hitting. Moeen is the nucleus of the Chennai squad at the moment and along with Sam Curran play a vital role in providing balance to the team. He will be the key yet again against KKR.
The big man from the West Indies has struggled for batting form even as he has found wickets to his credit with the ball. Russell, who can usually find the boundary at will, is far from his prime touch and would look to score big at a wicket which is traditionally more conducive for big hitters. Given that the ball comes on to the bat nicely at Wankhede, KKR would give him another go here and believe that he can get back to blasting sixes and destroying oppositions' bowling attack for fun.
Thakur hasn't been at his best form either. Not only has he conceded too many runs, he has looked completely ineffective. While he picked two wickets in the first match, he conceded 53 runs in that match and added another wicket to his tally in the third game after going wicketless in the second. Overall, he is going at over 10 runs an over which can hurt the team big time in the matches to come if he doesn't improve. Definitely, he would be eager to come back with a solid performance and that would make him an even more dangerous weapon in Dhoni's armoury.
Probable Playing XI
Kolkata Knight Riders:
Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (c), Shakib Al Hasan/Sunil Narine, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Harbhajan Singh/Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy
Chennai Super Kings:
Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Sam Curran, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar