Kolkata Knight Riders v Chennai Super Kings: Visitors to confirm their supremacy
Sunday's match between these two IPL heavyweights is rated an even contest. Paul Krishnamurty says the odds are wrong...
"On results, Chennai are evidently superior...Without Russell's heroics, KKR would be struggling."
Kolkata Knight Riders v Chennai Super Kings
Sunday, 11:30 GMT
Live on BT Sport and Star Gold (Sky Channel 729)
KKR aren't living up to expectations
Kolkata's excellent start has stalled with two comprehensive defeats on the spin, failing to set adequate targets on either occasion. This despite player of the season Andre Russell continuing to excel with the bat - he now has 302 runs from six innings at an average of 101 at an astonishing 213 strike rate.
Of the rest, only Robin Uthappa and Natish Rana have contributed more than 130. More worrying has been the economy of their bowlers. I still expect Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla to make an impact on turning pitches but so far, the spin trio has contributed just ten expensive wickets.
Frugal bowlers make CSK hard to beat
Chennai continue to sweep all before them and would almost certainly qualify for the play-offs with just two more wins from seven matches. They are [3.7] to win the title.
Their latest win went to the wire. Once again M.S. Dhoni was the hero against Rajasthan with a man of the match winning 58 after they lost early wickets. He now averages 107 for the season.
Best among an extremely frugal bowling line-up has been Deepak Chahar with ten wickets. Spin trio Imran Tahir, Ravi Jadeja and Harbhajan Singh have 25 wickets between them and all boast an economy less than six per over.
High total required to be competitive
KKR's 178 at Eden Gardens on Friday represented roughly a par total based on the historic evidence - 7 of the last 19 first innings here landed within the 170s.
It was the lowest of three totals this season though and didn't prove to be nearly enough. 181 was also chased down in the opener and the other total was 218.
Chennai rate a solid even money bet
There's little evidence of a toss bias at Eden Gardens, with the chasing side leading 10-9 over the last 19 matches. The market will doubtless favour the chasers though and, as always, check post-toss reports regarding the dew factor.
All things being equal though, I disagree with the odds. On results, Chennai are evidently superior. They are strong in every area apart from the death over bowling. Without Russell's heroics, KKR would be struggling and he is bound to fail eventually. Back the visitors at [2.0].
KKR's line-up is never easy to predict. Missing Narine and Lynn last time, Joe Denly and Shubman Gill opened with very different fortunes. The former was out for a golden duck while Gill top-scored with 65.
If getting the same gig, 8/1 to top-score would represent massive value and it would still be fair if returning to the middle order.
Dhoni is 6/1 to top-score and he could well utilise the Eden Garden boundaries at the death as others have lately. Among the top order, Faf Du Plessis is top-rated at 11/4.
Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty
2019 IPL Stats:
Back Chennai Super Kings 4u @ [2.0]