If the match against the Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede was their comeback to this cricketing carnival; then their second match against the Kolkata Knight Riders will be their homecoming. The men in yellow will be playing in front of the emotional Chepauk crowd after a gap of 156 weeks. The Chennai Super Kings, however, will be hosting KKR amongst political tensions in the state over the Cauvery issue. But if their practice sessions at the MA Chidambaram stadium, right before the start of the tournament are anything to go by, then cricket can be rest assured that the fans will come out in huge numbers to support the whistle-podus. For CSK, its been a real-fortress as they enjoy a win percentage of 70.21 (the 2nd best for any IPL franchise after Rajasthan Royals- 76%). But this shouldn’t haunt Kolkata as their skipper Dinesh Karthik is a Chennai-man himself.

Both teams will enter into the stadium brimming with confidence as they won their opening encounters. While Chennai, riding on the back of a miraculous innings from T20 veteran Dwayne bravo; Sunil Narine’s heroics with the bat, complemented with some all-around display from Nitish Rana ensured KKR ambush RCB at the Eden.

The CSK batting lineup, however, failed miserably in the opening match, and if hadn’t been for bravo’s sensational innings, Chennai would have opened their account with a big loss. their experiment to open with Ambati Rayudu didn’t pay any rich dividends and if their batting woes from the first match weren’t enough, they got hit with a big blow as all-rounder Kedar Jadhav was ruled out of the tournament following a grade-2 hamstring injury which he suffered during the 13th over of CSK’s chase. Skipper MS Dhoni will have some thinking to do as Rayudu will now have to bat in the middle-order. In the bowling department though, things look a bit settled as everyone except the Englishman Mark Wood, had a good outing in Mumbai, with Harbhajan Singh, Deepak Chahar and death-overs ‘champion’ DJ Bravo starring with the ball.

In contrast, the KKR batting looks very solid with the firepower of Narine and Lynn supported by Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana and in-form skipper Karthik. Their one-time gimmick of opening with Narine last season turned into a habit as the West-Indian, given the freedom at the top, gets KKR off to a flying start. His 50 off 17 balls against RCB blasted off a major chunk off the target as KKR achieved it with ease despite a few hiccups. Their bowling picked up wickets at regular intervals earlier-on in the RCB innings as they restricted them to a par score of 176 despite fireworks from de Villiers and McCullum. Rockstar Andre Russell’s return to the sport after a year was a good one as the big West-Indian had a good day with both bat and ball which served as icing on the cake for the KKR team management.

When: April 10, 2018; 20:00 IST

Where: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

What to expect: Since its south and near the sea, it will be humid. But having trained in sultry Kolkata, KKR will not be ‘caught cold’ by a 70% humidity forecast. There is a slight chance of rain in the evening of the match that could further encourage teams to chase.

Head to head: CSK 10 – 6 KKR. At home, the hosts hold the edge over fellow two-time champions by a margin of 5-2. The last time these two sides met here, in 2015, Chennai won by two runs.


Chennai Super Kings-  Jadhav’s injury leaves a place vacant in the CSK middle-order. Rayudu should ideally go down to No.4 and bring in either Vijay or Jagadeesan to partner Shane Watson at the top. An unexpected move by the genius of Dhoni could see Delhi batsman Dhruv Shorey come in. Since its expected to be a turner, we could see Karn Sharma coming in the side. Mark Wood conceded 49 in his debut and if needed, Lungi Ngidi could replace him.

Probable XI: Shane Watson, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c&wk), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh/Karn Sharma, Mark Wood/Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir.

Kolkata Knight Riders- The side won their last match against RCB with ease and far more comfortably than CSK, and will see no reason to tinker with the combination without any practice days in between. 

Probable XI: Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c&wk), Andre Russell, Rinku Singh, Piyush Chawla, Mitchell Johnson, Kuldeep Yadav, Vinay Kumar.


“I wouldn’t see myself as an opening batsman, but whatever the team requires of me I’m happy to do, whether it’s up the order or down the order. Whatever role the team wants me to play, I’m happy to do it. If I get out first ball, that’s okay, that (the attacking style of play) puts a lot more pressure on the fielding team and less on me.” – Sunil Narine, KKR

“From our point of view, we understand its going to be an emotional homecoming for each one of us. We understand that this place is going to rocking tomorrow night. We have to somehow control that and focus on what our plans are and execute it as best as we possibly can and not get caught up with that emotion as much and stay calm and calculated in how we play the game.” – Michael Hussey, coach CSK.