Dinesh Karthik will be determined to get the better of MS Dhoni in the battle of the table-toppers at Chepauk. (Image credit: Twitter)
It is the battle between No.1 and No.2 in the points table. The clash between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders at the MA Chidambaram stadium could set the tone and momentum for IPL 2019. Both teams are coming off wins against Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals respectively. Chennai Super Kings are being led by experience and they have had players who have stepped up and delivered when the situation has arisen. For Kolkata Knight Riders, their all-round versatility when it comes to the batting and the bowling department makes them a force. The fact that Kolkata Knight Riders won the game against Rajasthan Royals without the help of Andre Russell’s explosive batting makes them a complete unit heading into the clash at Chepauk.
In the last encounter between both these sides at the MA Chidambaram stadium in IPL 2018, the match was a high-scoring encounter with Chennai Super Kings winning the match with one ball to spare. In that match, Russell had displayed his brilliance with a 36-ball 88 and he will once again be the key. However, the slow nature of the Chepauk wicket might force Kolkata Knight Riders to play slightly differently.
For MS Dhoni, Faf du Plessis’ fifty is a welcome sign for a team that is struggling at the top of the order due to Ambati Rayudu’s poor form. With Rayudu going back in the middle order, Chennai Super Kings have a stable line-up but the likes of Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir are their key. With Dwayne Bravo out, the bowlers will have to shore up their death bowling and they will face a massive challenge in containing Russell.
With the match being played in Chepauk, both teams will load their line-up with spin. There might not be much changes to the squad for both teams.
Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni(w/c), Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Scott Kuggeleijn, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir
Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik(w/c), Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Harry Gurney, Prasidh Krishna
Who will win?
This is a massive clash for both sides, who are strong in both departments. If Kolkata Knight Riders get on top of Chennai Super Kings’ spinners, then they can set the initiative. If Chennai Super Kings manage to contain Andre Russell, then they will be in the driver’s seat. If the pitch conditions in Chepauk change, then the team combinations will play a big part. Dhoni is far more astute as captain but Karthik has shown that he does have solid leadership credentials.
Weather and pitch
The weather will be hot and humid, as is typical Chennai during April. The night temperatures will be close to 28 degrees and dew will play a major role.
Stadium and timings
The match will be played at the MA Chidambaram stadium and it will start at 8:00 PM IST.