The long break between the two phases of the Indian Premier League has not affected Chennai Super Kings, as it has hit the ground running with two wins from two matches so far in the UAE.
As it takes on Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, CSK will walk in with a real chance of sealing a playoffs berth if it can get its eighth win of the season.
In the first two matches, CSK was outplayed in the first ten overs but the team managed to quickly turn the tide thereafter to post comfortable wins against Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
CSK bowling consultant Eric Simmons highlighted the team’s aggressive approach to batting as a reason for its good run this year.
“I think the biggest difference is the aggression in our batting. We have come out a lot more aggressive than we did last time (in 2020),” said Simmons after the win against RCB on Friday.
Like CSK, KKR also has started the UAE-leg of the tournament with convincing wins over RCB and MI after just two victories from seven outing during the first phase in India.
The Kolkata side has the resources to be competitive with an explosive batting line-up that can take on the CSK medium-pacers who rely on swing more than outright pace.
Another advantage for KKR is that it has played its first two matches at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium and should have a better read on the conditions.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (Captain) Ruturaj Gaikwad, Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir, Faf du Plessis, Robin Uthappa, Karn Sharma, Josh Hazlewood, Jason Behrendorff, Krishnappa Gowtham, Mitchell Santner, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Hari Nishanth, N Jagadeesan, Cheteshwar Pujara, KM Asif, Harishankar Reddy, Bhagath Varma.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Eoin Morgan (captain), Dinesh Karthik, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Karun Nair, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathy, Shubman Gill, Harbhajan Singh, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Pawan Negi, M Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Dube, Tim Southee, Vaibhav Arora, Varun Chakravarthy, Andre Russel, Ben Cutting, Shakib Al Hasan, Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Sheldon Jackson, Tim Seifert.
Match starts at 3:30 PM IST.