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Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 19 April 2013 - 08:50pm IST

Preview : Match 26 – KKR vs CSK

High drama contest in the offing

What

Defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders will clash with the Chennai Super Kings in Match 26 of the Pepsi IPL 2013. These two teams met in the summit clash last season where the Knight Riders prevailed in a high-scoring final.

The hosts come into this match at the back of a narrow four run defeat against Kings XI Punjab. Chasing a competitive 158, KKR were well and truly in control of the run-chase before the batting fell apart. KKR have won both their home fixtures this season and they will be keen to retain their 100% home record when they take the field in this clash.

CSK have won three of their five matches so far. Their most recent match – against the Delhi Daredevils was a clinical performance from the two-time champions; the batsmen set it up beautifully, the strategy employed by the captain worked to near perfection and all the bowlers chipped in to help the team to an emphatic 86-run victory.

When

Saturday, April 20, 2013, 4 p.m

Where

Eden Gardens, Kolkata

The Protagonists

No one individual has influenced KKR’s fortunes more than their skipper Gautam Gambhir. In a format where the openers play the most crucial role with the bat, big runs from Gambhir’s willow has invariably meant success for KKR. He is the team’s top run-getter this season and if he can continue to keep piling on the runs – and get support from the likes of Eoin Morgan and Jacques Kallis – KKR are sure to be a tough team to beat. KKR coach Trevor Bayliss told the media on match eve that there was a chance Brendon McCullum could get a look in for this game, and his inclusion will only mean a big boost to the team’s batting line-up. Add the two mystery bowlers - Sunil Narine and Sachithra Senanayake – and KKR have a very potent bowling attack too.

Chennai Super Kings seem to be gaining momentum slowly. The team sorely missed Michael Hussey in the match against the Pune Warriors India. The Australian not only brings his experience but also offers a lot of solidity to the CSK batting line-up. He proved his value immediately upon his return to the XI by scoring an unbeaten 65 which set up the match against the Daredevils. Suresh Raina has played cameos so far this season and he will be itching to make a big score, like the ones fans are so used to seeing from the southpaw in the IPL. Keep an eye on MS Dhoni too; the CSK skipper has been in stupendous hitting form and it would only be fair to expect more fireworks from him.

Previous Meetings

In ten meetings between the two teams, the Chennai Super Kings have won six matches. Even when playing at Kolkata, CSK have an upper hand over their hosts having won three of the four matches.

The last time these two teams met was in the final of IPL 2012 when KKR, powered by Manvinder Bisla and Jacques Kallis, chased down 191 with two balls to spare.

Trivia

The Kolkata Knight Riders have been very efficient against the spinners this season; they’ve only lost four wickets (out of a total of 31 wickets) to spinners so far this season.

What Next

The Kolkata Knight Riders will play the second of their three back-to-back home fixtures against the Mumbai Indians on April 24. MS Dhoni’s team will head back home after this match to host the Rajasthan Royals on April 22. 

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