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.