Perception-breakers CSK, KKR Aim To Continue UAE Gallop

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Perception-breakers CSK, KKR aim to continue UAE gallop. It could come down to how they deal with the middle-overs, with both bat and ball

Perception-breakers CSK, KKR Aim To Continue UAE GallopIt could come down to how they deal with the middle-overs, with both bat and ball


A week into the IPL 2021 resumption, there's little to separate CSK and KKR – barring their points table positions. In this short span, both have managed to shatter two strong and important perceptions. CSK arrived with the baggage of having suffered their worst season in the history of IPL last year in UAE, but have shown transformative traits already. Head coach Stephen Fleming spent most of last year defending his ‘built-for-Chepauk' squad, but very early on this trip, he's already admitted to have made ‘all-weather' tweaks that were there to be seen in their two wins (against MI and RCB).

KKR came in with the backdrop of their head coach Brendon McCullum urging the side to shed their inhibitions. In Venkatesh Iyer, they have the embodiment of this change. The support cast around him have also clicked into gear, so much so that they came away with a commanding win against an opponent (MI) who have historically and overwhelmingly had their number.

Sunday's tussle between these two tactically-meticulous sides looking to maximise the conditions, is likely to come down to how they bowl and bat through the middle-overs. They both have openers – and strategies – to give them good starts, but how they deal with each other's bowlers through the middle could set up superiority, and the eventual two points.

Head-to-head: CSK have won 15 of the 23 encounters against KKR, including the reverse fixture in Mumbai this April.

When: CSK vs KKR, September 26, 15:30 IST

Where: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi

What to expect: Extreme levels of humidity and a gripping surface. In IPL 2020, teams batting first scored an average score of 165 in the afternoon games in this venue, with two wins each for the team batting first and second, while one went to the Super Over.

Team Watch:

Chennai Super Kings

Injured/Availability: There are no reported injuries or absentees. Sam Curran's stay on the bench is set to extend after Dwayne Bravo's impactful outing against RCB.

Tactics/Match-ups: Ruturaj Gaikwad has scores of 72 (53) and 64 (42) in the two outings against KKR in IPL, and the best strike-rate through the middle-overs this season (164.13) – a phase of the game that KKR look to dominate through spin.

Probable XI: Faf du Plessis, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Josh Hazlewood

Kolkata Knight Riders:

Injured/Availability: There are no reported injuries or absentees from the last game.

Tactics & Match-ups: Sunil Narine could hold all the aces for KKR in the middle-overs where CSK have come armed with a revamped mindset. He has bowled 53 balls at Ambati Rayudu and has conceded just 45 runs, dismissing him 2 times. Narine has even better numbers against Dhoni – 66 balls, 35 runs, 1 dismissal – and conceded his first-ever boundary to the CSK captain in the reverse fixture in Mumbai. Narine has 15 wickets in 14 IPL outings against CSK, with an economy rate of 6.29.

This could be another game where KKR will be better served holding back Andre Russell for the death overs batting, where he has had a measure of Dwayne Bravo – hitting him for 78 runs in 30 balls. The West Indian has 280 runs in 9 innings against CSK at a staggering strike rate of 172.84.

Probable XI: Venkatesh Iyer, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Varun Chakravarthy, Prasidh Krishna

Did You Know:

– Rahul Tripathi has smashed 49 off 29 balls he's faced from Deepak Chahar in IPL

– KKR's average score in the PowerPlay in the India leg of IPL 2021 was 44. In the two games in UAE, it has been 60.

– Ravindra Jadeja has 371 runs in 22 innings against KKR at an average and strike rate of 41.22 and 134.91

What They Said:

“You can sum up Shardul Thakur in terms of self-belief. You can give him the ball in any circumstances, and he would deliver. He has incredible self-belief and I think that's one of the things that makes him such a special cricketer.” – CSK bowling consultant Eric Simmons.

“I'm coming off a good amount of cricket in the CPL and The Hundred. It's getting better and better. It has taken me a while with this new action and I have put in a lot of work into it. Varun is someone who likes to know about the game and he likes to know what will happen. He is a quick learner and he has far to go.” – KKR's Sunil Narine.

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