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Preview: KKR vs CSK - Clash of the titans

After a convincing win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders are back at their den, Eden Gardens and will play the table-toppers, Chennai Super Kings. The visitors will look to dominate their record against the home team (W/L-11:6) and will keep an eye on becoming the first team to qualify for the playoff in VIVO IPL 2018. On the other hand, the home team will look to catch up with the other top-3 teams.

Kolkata Knight Riders - The Challenge begins for playoffs
Our Knights have the potential of going hard with the bat. Time and again we have proved ourselves of posting huge totals when asked to bat first (except for the match against SRH). At the same time, we have done justice of being a better chaser. 

But Dinesh Karthik and his fellow knights have come a long way since then. Our batting unit have enough gas to post 200 plus total at Eden Gardens, which we did at Chepauk against CSK and came close against KXIP. The only concern for DK and the team management will be in finding the best bowling combination. Time and again our spinners (Chawla, Narine and Kuldeep) have been the pillars of KKR bowling line-up. It’s time, our fast bowlers to chip in. Tom Curran might replace Mitchell Johnson in the playing eleven, considering the Englishman’s ability to bowl with more accuracy in the death overs. Another concern could be the fitness of Nitish Rana who couldn’t continue due to a lower back injury against RCB. 

Chennai Super Kings - A solid combination with wealthy experience
Team CSK has all the batting depth they need. Their batsmen are in form. Right from Shane Watson and man-in-form, Ambati Rayudu to Raina, Faf and MSD himself; all can be a nightmare to any bowling line-up. Ravindra Jadeja and DJ Bravo at the lower down the order adds more arsenal to their armoury.

The inclusion of Lungi Ngidi in CSK’s previous match against Delhi Daredevils gave some respite to CSK’s bowling unit, who have not been upto the mark in the death overs. Uncapped fast bowler, Deepak Chahar who has been ruled out for two weeks will be missed by the visiting team. At the same time, Karn Sharma, who didn’t get to bowl in the last match, only shows the visitor’s strong bowling depth.

History
The two teams have played 17 matches against each other with the visitors leading the head to head battle (11:6) against us. Even at Eden Gardens, CSK have an upper-hand (W/L- 4:3) over the home team. The wickets at Eden Gardens has changed considerably from last year. It has become more spinner-friendly and is not allowing batsmen to free their arms against slow bowlers. 

Player-speak
Shivam Mavi: "The way we are playing, it has been pretty good I would say. We’ve won 4 out of 8 so far. We’ll focus on CSK's weaknesses. Yes, we’ve got less experience but if we focus on our strengths, then there is no reason why we can't do well."

Head to head
Overall: Matches - 17
Won by Kolkata Knight Riders - 6
Won by Chennai Super Kings - 11

Last 5 games
Won by KKR - 2
Won by CSK - 3
Last time we played Chennai Super Kings in Chepauk. It was Andre Russell’s record-breaking innings that took us to 202 runs for 6 in 20 overs. But a valiant effort from Sam Billings assured the home team a victory in the penultimate ball of the last over.

Match Details:
3 May 2018, 20:00 (IST), Eden Gardens, Kolkata.