Kolkata snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on Tuesday in Chennai, but have an opportunity for revenge on their own ground just two days later. Richard O'Hagan thinks that they might just manage it...
"Their overall poor home record probably counts more against Kolkata than a narrow defeat on Tuesday does, but the key here could be the absence of Ashwin. He leaves a big hole in Chennai’s attack and at 2.68/5 it makes sense to back the Knight Riders to end that home drought."
Kolkata Knight Riders v Chennai Super Kings
Thursday April 30
Live on Sky Sports 2
Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata will be kicking themselves at having lost Tuesday's game. Some sound tactical decisions in the field were undone by a very ordinary batting performance. Given the chance of redemption so soon afterwards, they could do with a win here as there is already a five-point gap between them and their opponents at the top of the table.
Chief culprits in that batting failure were Yusuf Pathan and Ryan ten Doeschate. The former remains pretty sure of his place in the side despite some indifferent performances not only this year but in the past couple of seasons. Ten Doeschate, however, has rotated in and out of the matchday XI all month and either Shakib al Hassan or the evergreen Azhar Mahmood should come in for him. Sunil Narine could well replace Brad Hogg after being cleared to bowl everything but his off-break after another investigation into his action, although this arguably makes him less of a threat than the left arm chinamen of the wily Aussie veteran.
Chennai Super Kings
Chennai knocked Rajasthan off the top of the IPL table with Tuesday's win, but know that they were lucky to get there as Kolkata handed the game to them. A win in this game would put them well ahead of the chasing pack, though, so a better performance is called for.
Crucially, they will have to do without the services of Ravichandaran Ashwin, who suffered an injury to his bowling hand when dropping a catch midway through the Kolkata innings. Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina shouldered the slow bowling load from then on and will do so again, but Raina is no Ashwin in terms of either of flight, control or spin and Chennai have hitherto been reluctant to change their side when it is winning.
Venue and Conditions
Kolkata have yet to win in Eden Gardens this season, with two losses and one abandonment so far. The weather still figures to be stormy for this game, so don't consider any bets on totals or total number of runs until you know just how many overs are going to be played.
Their overall poor home record probably counts more against Kolkata than a narrow defeat on Tuesday does, but the key here could be the absence of Ashwin. He leaves a big hole in Chennai's attack and at 2.68/5 it makes sense to back the Knight Riders to end that home drought.
Top Kolkata Batsman
If Kolkata are to win, a lot is going to depend upon Robin Uthappa. The wicketkeeper-batsman hasn't been in great form behind the stumps, but in front of them he has been the Knight Riders' most reliable player. Back him at any price over 4.216/5.
Top Chennai Batsman
The temptation with Chennai is always to go for one of the big hitting openers such as Brendon McCullum or Dwayne Smith, but both were stifled by Kolkata's spinners on Tuesday and can't be relied upon for a big score here. Dwayne Bravo, on the other hand, has been in good form all season and should be available at around 5.04/1 if you are willing to take the risk that, as he rarely bats higher than five, he might not get to the crease at all if weather shortens the game.
Back Kolkata Knight Riders to win at 2.68/5
Richard's IPL 2015 P/L