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Kolkata target bouncing back with a win against Chennai

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Kolkata will be eager to return to winning ways when they take on Chennai in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. The two-time champions suffered a defeat against Delhi in their last Indian T20 League match and will be looking to regain some winning momentum at the expense of Chennai. Currently above Chennai in the points table courtesy a better net run rate, Kolkata will be eager to consolidate their position above Chennai in the standings with a win.

Chennai, on the other hand, will be looking to string together a positive run of results following their win over Punjab just a few days back. After a disappointing start to the campaign that’s seen them lose three of their first five games, the three-time champions will be keen to get into a winning habit and push for a top four finish as the team seems to be finally finding their mojo.

In terms of head-to-head, Chennai have an edge over Kolkata. The two teams have met 20 times in the Indian T20 League with Kolkata winning on seven occasions, while Chennai emerged triumphant 13 times. With both sides certain to be eager for a positive result on Wednesday, here’s a closer look at some battles and key players who could dictate the outcome of the encounter.

Chennai’s Narine nightmare

Although Chennai’s batsmen traditionally thrive against slower bowlers and pride themselves on their batting against spin, it’s safe to say Kolkata’s Sunil Narine bucks that trend against them in a prolific manner. Chennai’s batsmen have always struggled when up against Narine, with Ravindra Jadeja, who has also been dismissed twice in as many innings against the spinner, boasting a strike rate of 200 against him being their best performer.

He’s dismissed Shane Watson four times, Ambati Rayudu twice and both MS Dhoni and Faf du Plessis once. Of the four of them, only Watson has a strike rate of more than 100 (103.57) against Narine and Dhoni’s is less than 50 (49.15) against the man from the Caribbean. In fact, Dhoni is yet to hit Narine for a boundary in all his years in the Indian T20 League.

Players

Shane Watson

MS Dhoni

Ambati Rayudu

Faf du Plessis

Dismissals

4

1

2

1

Strike Rate

103.57

49.15

84.44

66.66

The Faf factor

Second in the overall leaderboard and first in Chennai’s for most runs (282) in the Indian T20 League 2020, de Plessis is averaging a whopping 94.00 this season, which is the best by a player in any edition with minimum of 100 balls faced.

Of his 282 runs this season, 67 per cent have come against pacers and 33 per cent off-spinners, which should serve as an indicator for how Kolkata’s bowlers can approach the South African once he’s at the crease. Even though he’s yet to be dismissed by a spinner this season, it’s worth noting that he has a strike rate of 172.47 against pacers as opposed to 118.98 off spinners.

Players to watch:

Kolkata – Shivam Mavi

Despite being a part of the Indian T20 League since 2018, the ongoing season has been the coming of age for 21-year-old Shivam Mavi. He’s taken four wickets this season and all of them have been top-order batsmen from positions 1-3. His four scalps against the top-order have come at an economy rate of 8.17 with a dot ball percentage of 42.55. Of the 18 bowlers to have bowled five or more overs in Powerplays this season, Mavi boasts the best average (18.50) and best economy (6.17).

Chennai – Shane Watson

Australian Shane Watson made a welcome return to form for Chennai in their last game when he scored an unbeaten 53-ball 83 and led the three-time champions to a comfortable 10-wicket win over Punjab. His form at the top of the order with du Plessis will be crucial to Chennai’s cause as we go deeper into the tournament since a strong foundation is on most days a pre-requisite to be successful. He looked confident in his last outing and it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if he were to play another telling knock against Kolkata.

Stats to watch out for:

0: Sunil Narine has never conceded a boundary against MS Dhoni in the Indian T20 League.

1:  Pat Cummins needs 1 wicket to complete 100 T20 wickets

3: With 3 more catches, Faf du Plessis tally of catches will touch 50 in the Indian T20 League. He will be the 12th player to reach this landmark.

6.00: Sunil Narine bowls at an economy rate of 6.00 against Chennai and is the best by a bowler who has bowled a minimum of 250 balls vs Chennai in the Indian T20 League.

71: Runs Shubman Gill needs to complete 1000 T20 runs

100%: Chennai’s win rate % vs KKR while chasing a target in IPL.

Writer’s pick:

Even though Chennai enjoy a historic advantage against Kolkata in terms of head-to-head, the two-time champions are likely to edge Wednesday’s encounter between the two. A younger and fresher side that has had more time to recover following their previous match, Kolkata should have enough firepower to overcome an ageing Chennai team who were in action on Sunday.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar

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