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IPL 2018: Chennai Super Kings resume home run versus Kolkata Knight Riders

MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings will aim to dominate Kolkata Knight Riders in the presence of die-hard fans when they play their first Indian Premier League (IPL) home game in two years on Tuesday.

cricket Updated: Apr 09, 2018 23:39 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
IPL 2018,Chennai Super Kings,Kolkata Knight Riders
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will take on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in their second game of the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday. (BCCI )

For all its pomp and riches, the Indian Premier League (IPL) also turns its benevolent gaze on the underdogs, those who struggle to get an early rating but have their moment in the sun during the course of the Twenty20 competition. (IPL 2018 FULL COVERAGE)

Rajasthan Royals winning the inaugural edition in 2008 is still spoken of after the Shane Warne-led team cocked a snook at the other sets of carefully assembled stars. Since then, a slew of individual performances have lit up the league in its 10-year existence.

Entering IPL 2018, knowing glances were thrown at Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders, both twice former champions who meet at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday.

READ: IPL 2018: MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik gear up to make educated guesses

Unfancied sides

MS Dhoni’s side was dubbed the ‘Dad’s Army’ as many past stalwarts were bought back in the players’ auction on the team’s return after a two-year ban in the 2013 spot-fixing scandal. And few knew what to make of a reshuffled KKR. It was seen as arguably the weakest, and Mitchell Starc’s injury only strengthened that assessment. This despite three of IPL’s original eight – Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab – are still chasing a title.

READ: IPL 2018: Kieron Pollard hopes to play major role in Mumbai Indians’ recovery

Upstaging holders Mumbai Indians and RCB respectively will add energy to the CSK-KKR clash, but it is likely to face heat of a different kind. Tamil Nadu political parties and farmers are demanding implementation of the Supreme Court-mandated institutional mechanism for release of Cauvery water by Karnataka and their leaders feel the time is not right for an IPL game in the state.

The sentiment for Tuesday’s game though won’t be just political as the Men-in-Yellow play their first game in Chennai since May 10, 2015. CSK’s immense popularity apart, fans at the MA Chidambaram Stadium are pretty much assured of their team’s victory – Dhoni and Co enjoy a nearly 80 percent success rate (won 30/39 matches with one game tied).

READ: Mayank Markande revels in stunning IPL debut for Mumbai Indians

Jadhav hamstring trouble

CSK will be without Kedar Jadhav, whose boundary sealed a thrilling one-wicket win over Mumbai Indians with a ball to spare. He has been ruled out due to a hamstring injury. South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis is expected to step in after sitting out of the first game.

KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik too will be at home. The former Tamil Nadu Ranji Trophy skipper’s stock has gone up overnight after pulling off an impressive win over RCB before a passionate but demanding Eden Gardens crowd on Sunday.

Shah Rukh Khan’s purple warriors lost their biggest pace weapon – Mitchell Starc – before IPL 2018 began, but got the job done through spinners with Sunil Narine’s pinch-hitting role as opener and part-time off-spinner Nitish Rana’s two-in-two (AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli) showing there are many ways to skin a cat.

CSK though are likely to pin hopes on spin at home, after Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja shared just five overs (1/46) at the Wankhede on Saturday.

First Published: Apr 09, 2018 20:09 IST