Chennai Super Kings will aim to dominate Kolkata Knight Riders in the presence of die-hard fans when they play their first IPL home game in two years here tomorrow.
Back with a bang with a thrilling win over Mumbai Indians in the tournament opener, Chennai Super Kings will look to improve further. For the legion of CSK fans, it will be a homecoming like no other as the 'Men in Yellow' will play at M A Chidambaram Stadium for the first time since May 2015. Their loyal supporters also turned up in huge numbers to watch them train. Away from the field, there has been opposition by political groups to conduct IPL games in the city as they demand formation of Cauvery Management Board and threaten to disrupt proceedings. CSK CEO K S Viswanathan, however, said the team's home matches will go on as per schedule. The city police has been informed about the schedule and will handle the situation accordingly, he added.
Pitted against defending champions MI, CSK looked down and out before Dwayne Bravo's heroics helped the team pull off a stunning heist. Barring Kedar Jadhav and Ambati Rayudu, the rest of the batting failed to get going and skipper MS Dhoni will hope for a quick turnaround. Back in their den, the CSK players will aim to get going in front of an adoring crowd.
The home favourite Dhoni will be expected to lead from the front while Suresh Raina would love to shake off the failure in the MI game. Jadhav suffered a hamstring pull during the opening game and looks likely to miss the KKR match. "Kedar will have scans at a hospital here to determine the extent of the injury. We will update on his status later today," Viswanathan said. Murali Vijay didn't play the opening match and could slot in at the top, with Rayudu probably moving down the order.
Also, in case CSK prefers to accommodate South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, there is a possibility of Shardul Thakur getting a call in place of England pacer Mark Wood. Bravo was the star performer with the ball, delivering at the death after an expensive opening over while Shane Watson took two wickets. The spin trio of Harbhajan Singh, Ravindra Jadeja and Imran Tahir - bowled just five overs between themselves at the Wankhede but will be expected to play a bigger role at Chepauk, which is known to be spin-friendly.
The visiting Kolkata side started with a win against the strong RCB as Sunil Narine, blasted a quickfire 50. The batting sports a formidable look with in-form Dinesh Karthik leading a mix of experience and youth. Australian Chris Lynn, when in the mood, can make any ground look small and the KKR think-tank will be praying he plays a big role given his trysts with an injury.
The bowling department will miss Australian pacer Mitchell Starc but his replacement Tom Curran will be happy to get opportunities to showcase his talent. KKR spinners Narine, Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla would find the surface at Chepauk more to their liking. All said and done, the Kolkata side led by a Chennai cricketer (Karthik) would be up against the might of the lions in their den, no easy task as many teams have found out in the past.
Teams (from): Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni(c), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Kanishk Seth, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N Jagadeesan. Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (c), Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Andre Russell, Nitish Rana, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Mitchell Johnson, Shubman Gill, Vinay Kumar, Rinku Singh, Cameron Delport, Javon Searless, Apoorv Wankhade, Ishank Jaggi, Tom Curran. —PTI