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KKR vs CSK, IPL 2019: Kolkata Knight Riders up against men in yellow, fever

The Knights aren’t battle ready due to injuries and illness. At the midnight hour after being humbled by Delhi Capitals (DC), KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik said he played on Friday despite feeling feverish.

cricket Updated: Apr 14, 2019 09:04 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Kolkata Knight Riders Andre Russell celebrates with his teammates after the fall of a wicket.
Kolkata Knight Riders Andre Russell celebrates with his teammates after the fall of a wicket.(AP)
         

Sunday’s early game against defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) is bigger than it otherwise would be for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) because they have hit an air pocket after a smooth take-off.

The Knights aren’t battle ready due to injuries and illness. At the midnight hour after being humbled by Delhi Capitals (DC), KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik said he played on Friday despite feeling feverish. Sunil Narine had sat out to protect a hamstring, Chris Lynn had caught the flu and Andre Russell was nursing bruises, said Karthik.

Also Read: KKR vs CSK: Simon Katich calls for better umpiring in IPL

“There is a virus running through the group including the coaching staff,” said KKR assistant-coach Simon Katich on Saturday ahead of their sixth game in two weeks five of which have been away.

Narine and Lynn batted at nets on Saturday and though Dwayne Bravo was put through the paces, CSK batting coach Mike Hussey said the all-rounder’s hamstring may still be dodgy.

If the table-toppers have coped without Bravo, it is because of MS Dhoni continuing to making optimum use of resources. Katich said KKR should take lessons from the Dhoni playbook that has already fetched hundred IPL wins, twice referring to the CSK skipper on his own.

“It’ll be interesting to see what you what the master in Dhoni goes with tomorrow. He seems to pull the right strings at the right time. Harbhajan Singh has been bowling beautifully (he has the best economy of 5.12 and the best bowling average of 11.71) but Dhoni didn’t play him in the last game because they had five right handers in the top order. He brought in (Mitchell) Santner (left-arm spinner) who did a good job. He’s very clever in the way he uses bowlers and field positions,” said Katich.

Also Read: Harbhajan Singh set to skip Kolkata clash due to stiff neck

Katich attributed the defeat in Chennai to Dhoni’s ‘fantastic captaincy’. Following Katich, Hussey spoke about the variety of roles Dhoni can play and the calm with which he approaches crises.

The question on Dhoni being anything but calm followed and Hussey, citing the game-travel-game whirl that IPL is, said the team has moved on. Earlier, Sourav Ganguly, advisor to Delhi Capitals, said Dhoni being an argumentative Indian in Jaipur showed that he was human. A competitive one, he said.

Having hosted game on strips where spin is king could mean CSK having to adjust with bat and ball. “Quite a few of them have played here at the Eden Gardens so they will know what to expect and let’s hope they can make the adjustments as quickly as possible,” said Hussey.

Problem for KKR, guilty of not bowling the right lines on Friday, is that spinners being rendered ineffective --- Katich said DC read the strip better, using four overs of slow bowling; Knights did that for 8.5 --- doesn’t help them either.

In seven games, KKR’s potent spin trio of Narine, Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav have taken 10 wickets. In three home games, that tally reads three; two to Chawla and one to part-time off-spinner Nitish Rana.

First Published: Apr 13, 2019 23:18 IST

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