Making a return to the league after a two-year suspension, the MS Dhoni-led franchise will play in front of their home fans for the first time since 2015 after beating the defending champions Mumbai Indians in the tournament opener.
On the other hand, Kolkata Knight Riders started their campaign in style by beating favourites Royal Challengers Bangalore at Eden Gardens on Sunday.
If there were question marks over CSK’s ageing outfit going into the tournament, then all of those negatives were removed as Dwayne Bravo’s sublime 68 (30) powered them to victory against a star-studded Bangalore side. Bravo and Shane Watson’s all-round abilities have given Dhoni’s side balance and composure therefore it would be foolish to write them off yet. They have however, lost the services of middle-order batsman Kedar Jadhav who has been ruled out for the rest of the IPL with a hamstring injury.
On the other hand, Kolkata Knight Riders will be relying on their strong spin contingent to lead the way once again. With Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla in their ranks, Dinesh Karthik’s men will go into the match with confidence given how well spinners have done over the years at Chennai.
PLAYERS IN FOCUS
CSK pacer Mark Wood was taken for plenty of runs after a promising start against Mumbai Indians. It will be interesting to see if Dhoni sticks with the Englishman for Tuesday’s clash or if he opts to go with South Africa’s Lungi Ngidi who impressed during India’s tour of the rainbow nation earlier this year.
Ravindra Jadeja bowled just the one over in the opening clash and will be looking to make a greater contribution for CSK with both bat and ball.
For KKR, Australia’s Chris Lynn will be itching for a solid display after a quiet outing in the win over Bangalore. The left-handed opener is one of the most destructive batsmen in the format and if he gets going on Tuesday, it could be raining sixes at the MA Chidambaram stadium.
Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayadu, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay, MS Dhoni (C), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir, Mark Wood.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (C), Andre Russell, Rinku Singh, Piyush Chawla, Vinay Kumar, Mitchell Johnson, Kuldeep Yadav.
Kolkata Knight Riders made the perfect start to life under the captaincy of Dinesh Karthik as they defeated a strong Royal Challengers Bangalore outfit by four wickets at the Eden Gardens on Sunday night.
Bangalore batted first and made 176-7, thanks mainly to a fine 44 off 23 balls from AB de Villiers who hit five sixes. Brendon McCullum had started things off for the Royal Challengers but Knight Riders’ spinners kept the hosts in the match.
Then in the chase, Sunil Narine blazed 50 runs off just 19 balls to go with his 1-30 to ensure a winning start for the Knight Riders.
Here are the talking points from Kolkata’s win in the IPL on Sunday.
McCULLUM TEES OFF
Kiwi legend Brendon McCullum might not be as consistent as he once was but he is still good enough to punish anything less than the absolute best. In the very first over bowled by Vinay Kumar, McCullum deposited three ‘nothing balls’ from the seamer for two fours and a six. That got the ball rolling as McCullum reached 43 off 27 balls.
Sunil Narine becomes first player to score half century less than 17 balls twice in IPL history and both came against RCB....— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) April 8, 2018
SPINNERS PULL THINGS BACK
The Kolkata spinners were brilliant, keeping heavy hitters in McCullum and Virat Kohli relatively quiet. McCullum had trouble reading both Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla. Kohli could only manage 31 off 33 balls. Narine rattled the stump of McCullum before off-spinner Nitish Rana got the wickets of a dangerous looking De Villiers (44) and Kohli off successive deliveries. At 127-4 in the 15th over, the wind had been knocked out of Bangalore’s sails.
NARINE BRILLIANT WITH THE BAT AS WELL
West Indies spinner Narine’s bowling action was reported during the PSL. But not only did he put that behind him to bowl a superb spell of 1-30, he led the Kolkata charge in his now familiar role as opener by cracking 50 off 19 balls. His knock included four boundaries and five sixes. The Knight Riders, who were worried about the form and fitness of Narine and Andre Russell, now must be smiling from ear to ear.
CAPTAIN KARTHIK KEEPS HIS COOL
A tricky chase at home against Virat Kohli’s team is not an easy assignment first up. When Kolkata lost half their side at 146 chasing 178, the match could have gone either way. But Karthik was still there. After his heroics in the T20 tri-series in Sri Lanka, DK looks a different man and he was there until the end as Kolkata won by four wickets.
Having set a modest target of 168, Gautam Gambhir‘s men were unable to taste victory as KL Rahul smashed the fasted IPL fifty off just 14 balls. Daredevil’s star pacer Trent Boult ended up with figures of 1-34 as the hosts won with more than an over to spare.
Here, we take an in-depth look at the New Zealander’s performance on the day.
OVERS BOWLED: 3.5
RUNS CONCEDED: 34
ECONOMY RATE: 8.86
The Blackcaps pacer had a mixed day at the office, going at over eight runs an over as KL Rahul landed some early blows in his spell. He did manage to pick up his wicket ultimately but it was not enough as the hosts cantered home to a comfortable win. Boult was unable to find his trademark swing, making him half as effective as he was unable to lead his side back into the game.
Boult used all experience to stem the run-flow despite being taken for a few boundaries early in his spell. He kept chipping away at the batsman and got his reward with the wicket of half-centurion KL Rahul. Despite being hit for two sixes and as many boundaries, Boult had conceded only 24 runs by the time he finished his third.
The IPL has made some great international bowlers look like amateurs due to nature of the format and wickets. Sunday was one such day as Boult came directly in the line of fire of Rahul’s assault at the top of the innings. Top edges and agricultural shots against good length deliveries resulted in some serious punishment for the Kiwi ace.
VERDICT – 6/10
Despite being attacked at the start, Boult kept his cool to pull things back. Without any help from the surface, he was willing to bend his back and toil away for his side but he lacked the cutting edge that was required from Daredevils’ strike bowler. He could have done more given his pedigree but he didn’t have a lot to defend anyway.