The two most dominant teams in the 2019 IPL so far will meet for the first time this season in a top of the table clash at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. In their last five matches, both the Super Kings and Knight Riders have lost just one game each, maintaining a 4-1 record heading into this all-important matchup. It’s flamboyance versus experience, and quite frankly it’s anyone’s game.
Chennai Super Kings
More often than not, Chennai have found themselves in a spot of bother this season but somehow always manage to find a way out of it. Apart from that loss against the Mumbai Indians a couple games ago, it’s been all smooth-sailing for the reigning IPL champions. Skipper MS Dhoni has been sensational with the bat for the Super Kings in 2019. Classified as a finisher, the 37-year-old’s elevation up the order has seen him accumulate 156 runs and more importantly control the tempo of CSK’s innings. They finally decided to pull the trigger on Faf du Plessis for the first time in IPL 12, and the South African skipper did not disappoint as he muscled his way to 54 with a mixed bag of fours and sixes. The inclusion of du Plessis at the top of the order benefited the team significantly, a struggling-Ambati Rayudu dropped down to No. 5 and produced a handy 21 not out. It’s hard to see CSK removing any three of Shane Watson, Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu from the playing XI, but at the same time the trio hasn’t done enough to rule that out.
Maybe, just maybe the addition of du Plessis could take some of the pressure off and allow the likes of Watson and Raina to play their natural games now. The batting seems to be on the increase, but they’ve had no such problems with the ball in this season’s competition which is a major upside for CSK. Dhoni’s masterful-captaincy mixed with the quality bowlers he has at his disposal has definitely been the key to Chennai’s success in 2019, however they may be tested against the explosive-KKR. Opting for three spinners against the Kings XI featuring Imran Tahir, Ravindra Jadeja and Harbhajan Singh could be a match-winning move against the Knight Riders who like pace on the ball. The use of Deepak Chahar in the powerplay should work out perfectly for CSK, Dhoni won’t want him bowling to Russell at the back-end of the innings.
Kolkata Knight Riders
After defeating the Rajasthan Royals last night, the Kolkata Knight Riders have moved to the top of the standings and will be extremely difficult to knock off in the form they find themselves in. Kolkata’s batting has been doing most of the damage this season, but it was their bowling attack that produced a stranglehold on the Royals batsmen on a slow batting surface. Englishman Harry Gurney picked up 2/25 on debut for KKR, the gangly-seamer using his off-pace deliveries extremely effectively. The Knight Riders spinning-trio outplayed Rajasthan’s top order in a dominant display of slow bowling, that was truly where the match was won and lost. They conceded just 74 runs in 12 overs, my only concern is that none of them picked up a wicket. The likes of Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav in particular have been abnormally-quiet in this year’s IPL, they’ve combined for just the 4 wickets in KKR’s five games and are both averaging 50+ with the ball.
The Knight Riders top order decided to come to the party in their last match and give Andre Russell a rest from belting balls over the fence. It was still West Indian dominance though, only this time it was in the form of Sunil Narine who smoked 47 runs off just 25 deliveries in his return to form. Australia’s BBL-barometer Chris Lynn posted his first half century in IPL 12 but was extremely-lucky to do so after he was bowled, the stumps however didn’t agree and gave him a lifeline. Kolkata’s entire top order looks to be in ripping touch with the willow, throw in Andre Russell and the game becomes twice as challenging as an opposition team. Currently leading the IPL’s MVP award and sitting fourth in the tournaments leading run scorers striking at a colossal 268.83, ‘Dre Russ’ in an absolute six-hitting beast at the moment and is yet to be conquered by any team. Can Chennai tame the beast that is Andre Russell?
Top 4 fantasy picks – Chennai Super Kings
- Faf du Plessis
- Harbhajan Singh
- MS Dhoni
- Imran Tahir
Wildcard pick – Ravindra Jadeja
Top 4 fantasy picks – Kolkata Knight Riders
- Robbie Uthappa
- Andre Russell
- Sunil Narine
- Nitish Rana
Wildcard pick – Dinesh Karthik
Chennai Super Kings (possible) – 1. Shane Watson 2. Faf du Plessis 3. Suresh Raina 4. MS Dhoni (c & wk) 5. Ambati Rayudu 6. Kedar Jadhav 7. Scott Kuggeleijn/Dwayne Bravo 8. Ravindra Jadeja 9. Harbhajan Singh 10. Deepak Chahar 11. Imran Tahir.
Kolkata Knight Riders (possible) – 1. Chris Lynn 2. Sunil Narine 3. Robbie Uthappa 4. Nitish Rana 5. Dinesh Karthik (c & wk) 6. Andre Russell 7. Shubman Gill 8. Piyush Chawla 9. Kuldeep Yadav 10. Harry Gurney 11. Prasidh Krishna.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.