Mumbai, April 20: Upbeat with back-to-back wins, Chennai Super Kings would be aiming to keep the winning momentum going when they take on struggling Kolkata Knight Riders in their next IPL 2021 encounter here on Wednesday (April 21).
Team News: Chennai Super Kings
After their dismal show in UAE last year, the MS Dhoni-led Yellow Brigade started the season in an ominous fashion, losing to Delhi Capitals by seven wickets in a one-sided affair. But since then, Dhoni's men have come on their own with the 'Captain Cool' making the most of his resources at the batting-friendly Wankhede Stadium. Before they shift their base from Wankhede to Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, Super Kings would be hoping to add some more points to their kitty.
Opener Ruturaj Gaikwad is enduring a terrible form with scores of 5, 5 and 10 and it remains to be seen whether he is given a longer rope by Dhoni who is not known to tinker his XI much.
Pacer Deepak Chahar's brilliance handed them their first win of the season against the Punjab Kings. It's been a tale of two Englishmen -- Moeen Ali and Sam Curran for the CSK. Explosive all-rounder, Ali has embraced the number three spot with knocks of 36 from 24 (vs Delhi Capitals), 46 off 31 (Punjab Kings) and 26 off 20 in his match-winning show against Rajasthan Royals on Monday (April 19). He is also quietly doing the job with his off-spin with Dhoni cleverly bringing him in the mix in the non-friendly conditions here. In their chase of 189, Jos Buttler had started to look ominous and sent a good-length ball from Ravindra Jadeja into the stands as the ball had to be replaced. Well aware that the dry ball would turn more than the dew-laden wet ball, Dhoni stepped up his attack with Jadeja and Ali from both ends.
While Jadeja dismissed the dangerous-looking Buttler and Shivam Dube in one over, Ali accounted for David Miller, Riyan Parag and Chris Morris in his match-turning 3/7. The only bright spot of their abysmal campaign in UAE, youngster Sam Curran has also made some impact both with the bat and ball.
Be it his 15-ball 34 against in a losing cause to Delhi Capitals, or his bowling in the Powerplay, Curran is giving Dhoni many options. Against a side that will play its first match of the season at the Wankhede, smarting from two successive defeats, the Dhoni-led CSK will start as overwhelming favourites against KKR as Eoin Morgan is all set to ring in some changes to revive their campaign.
Historically, CSK has had an upper hand over KKR as the Chennai-based outfit has won 14 of 23 matches the two teams have faced off. But last year, both the teams came out victorious one time each.
Team News: Kolkata Knight Riders
After their emphatic start against Sunrisers Hyderabad, KKR have slipped to the fifth spot with defeats to Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore. And in both the defeats, the Morgan-led side had the upper hands but could not capitalise on their starts.
Varun Chakravarthy had dismissed Virat Kohli and Rajat Patidar in five balls to have RCB in a spot with 9/2 inside two overs. But in a bizarre decision, Morgan took the mystery spinner out of the attack and brought in Shakib-Al-Hasan as Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers powered them to 204/4. It remains to be seen if Morgan persists with Shakib or bring in seaming Aussie all-rounder Ben Cutting in the less spin-friendly conditions.
Morgan also has persisted with the veteran Harbhajan Singh and gave him the opening overs in all three matches. Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav could be a better option. Head coach Brendon McCullum has already hinted at making some changes after their 38-run defeat to RCB.
KKR: Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Tim Seifert, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Shivam Mavi, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Rahul Tripathi, Varun Chakravarthy, Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Harbhajan Singh, Karun Nair, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer and Pawan Negi.
CSK: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, KM Asif, Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, N Jagadeesan, Karn Sharma, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shardul Thakur, Sam Curran, Jason Behrendorff, R Sai Kishore, Robin Uthappa, Moeen Ali, Krishnappa Gowtham, Cheteshwar Pujara, M Harisankar Reddy, K Bhagath Varma and C Hari Nishaanth.
Date: Wednesday, April 21
Match time: 7.30 PM IST
Venue: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Live telecast: Star Sports Network
Live streaming: Disney+HotStar VIP and JIO TV
(With PTI inputs)