Kolkata Knight Riders vs Chennai Super Kings, Abu Dhabi
Pro Tip: The consistent Faf du Plessis and the big-hitting Andre Russell could prove to be the difference for their respective sides.
Our XI: Dinesh Karthik, Shubman Gill, Shane Watson, Eoin Morgan, Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Pat Cummins
Substitutes: MS Dhoni, Nitish Rana, Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja
NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates, so please finalise your team after the toss.
Player availability: All players are available for selection.
Captain: Faf du Plessis
Du Plessis has been as consistent as ever, scoring 282 runs in five innings in the tournament so far at a strike rate of 150. He has also scored three half-centuries and hasn’t failed to cross the 20-run mark even once. In 23 innings in the IPL since 2018, he has been dismissed in the 20s only four times.
Vice-captain: Andre Russell
The lack of penetration in the Super Kings’ attack after the powerplay is one of the main reasons why Russell should be your vice-captain. He is also bowling regularly and most of his overs come at the death as well. Since 2018, Russell has scored 148 runs in three innings against the Super Kings at a strike rate of 176.19.
Shubman Gill: Gill has been getting better with time. He has shown a calm head under pressure and has tackled international bowlers with ease. At 117.82, his strike rate has been on the lower side but he has scored 152 runs at an average of just over 50.
Eoin Morgan: Morgan has played the finisher’s role for the Knight Riders this season. He has faced 25 balls at the death so far, scoring 62 at a strike rate of 248. He could also be promoted against the Super Kings, given they don’t have a spinner who can turn the ball away from Morgan.
Shane Watson: Watson smashed his way back into form with a match-winning 83 not out against the Kings XI Punjab. He can take on the young and inexperienced Indian seamers in the Knight Riders’ side and is definitely worth the punt.
Shardul Thakur: Thakur has impressed in the two games he has played, picking up three wickets at an average of 23.66. He is a genuine wicket-taking option for the Super Kings – especially at the death – despite running the risk of leaking runs. Thirteen out of his 27 wickets since IPL 2018 have come at the death.
Sunil Narine: Against an attack that doesn’t have too much pace or a spinner to turn the ball away, Narine could come good with the bat. Add to that his four overs of spin and he can certainly make a difference. Since 2018, Narine has picked up seven wickets against the Super Kings at an economy of just 5.21.
If the Knight Riders bat first, consider making Russell your captain and du Plessis vice-captain. Russell averages 48 and strikes at 197.93 batting first, while averaging 27.09 in the second innings at a strike rate of 183.95. Since he bowls as well, Russell could be a better option as captain if the Knight Riders bat first.
It is highly unlikely that the Super Kings would replace Sam Curran. But if they do, it will probably be Lungi Ngidi to provide some extra pace against the likes of Narine. If Ngidi plays, replace Narine with him.
The left-handed Nitish Rana is an alternative to Gill, but since Rana has scored only 37 runs in three innings against the Super Kings, Gill remains a better option.
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