The last time the two sides met,it was the IPL final at Chepauk last year and Chennai Super Kings couldn’t defend 190 on home patch. Going into the game,the main talking point was how Chennai would handle the spin of Sunil Narine,who had taken 24 wickets going into the game. The mystery spinner,however,ended up going for 37 runs in his four overs without taking a wicket.
This though,is a new season and the game will be played not on the flat Chepauk track,but on the slower wicket at Eden Gardens. And once again,Narine,who comes into the game on the back of a hat-trick in his previous match,could be the deciding factor.
On Saturday,it might well be two unorthodox spinners that the visitors might have to deal with. Sri Lankan Sachithra Senanayake has already made an impression,though it is still early days and he has played just two matches for Kolkata. He has picked up three wickets,but has gone at just 5.75 runs per over over the two games he has played in.
The problem though is that Kolkata’s spinners will come up against Chennai’s top order,almost all of whom are good players of the turning ball. From Murali Vijay and Michael Hussey to MS Dhoni,Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja,Chennai’s batting will leave KKR’s spinners with very little margin for error. There have been rumours that Kolkata could bring back Brett Lee at the expense of the extra spinner,though coach Trevor Bayliss did not lean towards that suggestion.
“We concentrate on what we do well. Spin is one of our strengths and I can’t see we are changing too much,” Bayliss said.
There are other changes that KKR are mulling too. Brendon McCullum could come in,in place of Jacques Kallis,but that would affect the balance of the side. Kallis hasn’t done much with the bat but has six wickets in five matches at an economy rate of 6.21. Chennai too are yet to fire as a unit. Hussey and Dhoni have done the bulk of the scoring as Vijay and Raina have not come good yet. Despite the struggles,the sides have served up several close contests and Friday could provide one too,the weather willing.