KKR need to rejig batting order as they take on CSK

KOLKATA: Just when Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) found their winning combination, they came up against a roadblock. Their 18-run loss against Delhi Capitals, after two dominant victories over Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals, took them back to the drawing board.
They say doubts in the mind are a much greater hurdle to success than obstacles on the ground, and it’s time the Knights have a clear idea about their batting order when they face Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Chasing a 229-run target against Delhi Capitals in Sharjah, KKR sent the in-form Eoin Morgan at No.6. The Irishman scored a swashbuckling 18-ball 44 to take his team from 122/6 to 200/7, along with Rahul Tripathi, before Kolkata fell short by 18 runs. Had he come up the order, the result might have been different.
Apart from failing to get the leadership decisions right, skipper Dinesh Karthik has failed miserably with the bat. In four matches, he has managed to score just 37 runs. The opening slot too remains unsettled with Sunil Narine (3, 15, 0 & 9) failing on all four occasions.
Narine has looked out of sorts and it’s time KKR brings in England hard-hitter Tom Banton into the team. They will also hope Andre Russell, who has been brilliant with the ball, to come good with the bat.
The bowling unit looks somewhat settled but pacer Pat Cummins’ inconsistent performance is a worry. The Australian has so far bagged just two wickets from the four matches. KKR will also be tempted to go in with six specialist bowlers (three spinners and three pacers) in their preferred den Abu Dhabi that has longer boundaries, and it might see Kuldeep Yadav back in the team.
Chennai Super Kings, on the other hand, have done the small things right to beat King’s XI Punjab by 10 wickets after three successive losses. Having Shane Watson, who had a total of 52 runs in the first four games, back in form with an unbeaten 83 will be a huge relief for skipper MS Dhoni. With Faf du Plessis continuing his rich vein of form, CSK will hope to ride the momentum against KKR.
With two wins and two losses, the Knight Riders are currently fourth on the table, but CSK lead the head-to-head chart with 13 wins from 20 matches. In fact, CSK got the better of KKR in their last six meetings. The coming to form of a misfiring top-order is what CSK needed to come out of a miserable start and will certainly look favourites against a struggling KKR.

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