This IPL already the table has become tighten with 5 teams fighting for two spots in playoffs. Mid-table scrap heats up with crucial matches today, MI taking on RCB for revenge of last week’s defeat. Keyed up after an emphatic win over table toppers Delhi Daredevils, title holders Chennai Super Kings need to maintain the momentum to stay afloat for the play-off by putting it across the formidable Kolkata Knight Riders in what promises to be an absorbing Indian Premier League clash.
The Knight Riders, in contrast, are already through to the play-offs, but would be keen to log full points at the Eden Gardens to get back on the winning track, after their spectacular seven-game victory march was rudely halted by the Mumbai Indians Saturday. A victory would also carry the Knight Riders to the first slot. With 15 points from 14 games, the Mahendra Sing Dhoni-led Super Kings now occupy the fourth position in the league table and would be competing with the likes of Mumbai Indians (16 from 13 games), Royal Challengers Bangalore (15 from 13 outings), Rajasthan Royals (12 from 13 ties) and Kings XI Punjab (12 from as many matches) to progress to the next stage.
The key factor for CSK in last two wins has been the entry of Ben Hilfenhaus into side and his delivery to Virender Sehwag was an ‘unplayable delivery’ at Chepauk on Saturday. When the Chennai Super Kings take on the Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday, the Australian will once again be a key factor. The Australian seamer completed his engagements in the West Indies for the national side before joining the IPL midway through, and despite the difficulties he must have faced in getting himself used to a different format and different conditions, has hit the ground running. Hilfenhaus has so far played just four matches in this IPL but his eight wickets have helped Chennai win three of them. In fact, his consecutive Man-of-the-Match performances against Rajasthan (two for eight) and Delhi (three for 23) have helped Chennai’s campaign get back on track.
Another mini battle between R Ashwin and Sunil Narine could also prove crucial. KKR’s Caribbean mystery spinner Sunil Narine could hold the key. With 15 wickets in his kitty, and a highly economical average, Narine has troubled almost all batsmen during the tournament, and KKR would hope for a repeat performance from him. Ashwin is a proven performer in this format with one of the lowest economy rates in the history of IPL, but would want a few more wickets in the bag this edition (eight from 14 matches). Narine, on the other hand, has ticked both boxes, taking 15 wickets at an economy rate of 5.47. Chennai have Michael Hussey, Suresh Raina and Dhoni, all good players of spin bowling and will hope they can ensure Kolkata don’t do the double over them.
Known for their late pushes, the CSK would be looking at good performances from their frontline batsmen – South African top scorer Faf du Plessis, provided he is fit after missing out two matches, and home spun heroes Dhoni and Suresh Raina besides West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo. KKR has the likes of Jacques Kallis, Manoj Tiwary and Yusuf Pathan, along with their captain who has been in great form, to build or chase a good score.