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Cricket news - KKR look to regain lost steam against rampaging CSK

KKR will be out to avoid a double loss at the hands of CSK

The scheduling of the Indian Premier League has it such that Kolkata Knight Riders will play their fifth game in 10 days. After two wins, they've slipped to two losses on the trot, and seek to arrest the slide when they take on the Chennai Super Kings on Sunday (April 14).

While CSK have thrived on their spinners making full use of the pitch at Chepauk, Eden Gardens offers them a different challenge. The wicket here hasn't had much gain for the spinners. Even KKR's spin duo pf Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav has failed to make inroads at home. Yadav has no wickets in the three home games so far, while Chawla has two. Delhi Capitals who picked up a comfortable win yesterday, bowled only four overs of spin. KKR's pacers, however, haven't been up to the mark either, failing to pick up wickets upfront.

KKR's over-reliance on Andre Russell has also been exposed through the season with the all-rounder having pulled them out of sticky situations and led them to victory single-handedly on more than one occasion. Special cricketer as he may be, there's only so much Russell can do. They need their top order in Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn to fire, but with Shubman Gill having shown his class at the top in their absence, and with the uncertainty of what CSK might throw at them in the powerplay tomorrow, they may reconsider their batting order. And with Russell under a cloud of doubt, it only makes things tougher for them.

CSK have just found ways to win so far this season. Nevermind the situation, conditions, or whatever has been thrown at them, they have had someone invariably stepping up to haul them out. The result: six wins in seven games as CSK sit atop the points table, merry. The experience in their ranks has held them in good stead and they've found ways of coming out on top in situations of strife, which is what Mike Hussey, the batting coach stressed - the capability of the CSK batsmen to be able to adjust and a solid game plan in place will have a bearing on how they fare.

While Shane Watson has hardly been a shadow of himself from the PSL, he spent a solid half hour batting in the nets on the eve of the match, first facing Imran Tahir and Mitchell Santner before receiving throwdowns from Mike Hussey, with restricting his shots to the offside. Deepak Chahar spent some time bowling on an adjacent wicket to the one to be used tomorrow which was cordoned off. He will be key for the visitors, who CSK have used mostly in the powerplays, before using him in the death in the last couple of games, with the youngster rewarding their faith in him. His accuracy, control and ability to strike in the powerplay has held him in good stead.

Of KKR's three losses in seven games, two have come against Delhi Capitals, and the one against Chennai Super Kings. Can they halt the Chennai juggernaut and bounce back to winning ways? Or will it be two in two against CSK too?

When: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Chennai Super Kings, 16:00 IST, April 14, 2019

Where: Eden Gardens, Kolkata

What to expect: Another belter of a wicket and another high-scorer with the pitch having little assistance for the spinners. A hot afternoon with temperatures rising up to 36.

Team News:

Kolkata Knight Riders

The KKR camp has been marred by a virus around their group in the last week that have left a couple of their players down with flu, apart from a few carrying minor niggles. Chris Lynn was ruled out of the clash against DC with flu, while skipper Dinesh Karthik played through it. Sunil Narine has a minor hamstring issue, while Andre Russell was visibly still hurting from the strain he picked up against CSK. He hobbled off the field on Friday after being hit by a delivery from Rabada which has caused a bit of bruising. His availability will be determined on game day, but he is likely to play. He skipped the optional training on match eve, but Lynn and Narine were in the nets. They are likely to slot right in at the top of the order. Gurney may return for Ferguson.

Probable XI: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c, wk), Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Harry Gurney, Prasidh Krishna, Kuldeep Yadav

Chennai Super Kings

CSK will be fretting about Watson's form, who has looked like a shadow of himself since the PSL. Although he's struggled on the sluggish Chennai wickets, the Eden Gardens wicket might suit him well. On the eve of the match, although Bravo was seen among the drills and is on the road to recovery, it's unlikely he will make the side for tomorrow's clash. Given the nature of the wicket, Scott Kuggeleijn is likely to be slotted in for Santner.

Probable XI: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Scott Kuggeleijn, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur.

Did you know:

-> Suresh Raina has scored only 136 runs so far in IPL 2019 - the lowest aggregate for him midway through the tournament.

-> KKR have taken the fewest wickets in IPL 2019 - 25 - while CSK have taken the joint most (50).

-> KKR is the only side to score in excess of nine runs per over (9.18) while CSK is the only side to score at under 7.5 per over (7.09).

What they said:

Obviously they (CSK) are a good team. Two good teams playing against each other will be a good game. That's the beauty of the IPL; you win two on the trot then you lose two on the trot. Anything can happen. It's about how balanced you stay as a team. - Dinesh Karthik

The lucky thing about the CSK team in the particular the batting order is that they are very experienced players. They know their games. Quite a few of them have played at the Eden Gardens on many occasions so they'll know what to expect and will make the adjustments as quickly as possible. - Mike Hussey

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