Super Kings poised against Knight Riders

With semifinal race getting fierce with each passing match, Super Kings would look to get vital points as they clash against Knight Riders on Sunday.

updated: May 23, 2008 12:11 IST
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With semifinal race getting hot with each match passing, Chennai Super Kings would look to get vital points as they clash against inconsistent Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday.

Placed third with 12 points from 10 matches, the visitors would be keen to cash in on the brittle batting of the Kolkata side, who folded up for a miserly 67 in their IPL game opposite Mumbai Indians on Friday to slip to the sixth position.

The hosts now are on 10 points from as many ties, and need to improve upon their team game to put it across Chennai, who have stars like Stephen Fleming, Michael Hussey, Mutthiah Muralitharan, Jacob Oram in their ranks as the race intensifies for the four semi-final berths.

Both the sides lost their previous encounter against Mumbai Indians and would be keen to boost their tally by two points before a full house of 85,000 at the Eden Gardens.

The tournament's highest paid cricketer and Indian ODI captain MS Dhoni has led the batting display of the Super Kings, plundering 332 runs at an awesome strike rate of 131.74 while fancied Aussie willower Hussey has emerged as the most attacking player of the side (SR 168).

In the bowling department, Laxmipathy Balaji is coming off a hat-trick, while medium pacer Manpreet Gony leads the team bowling chart with 11 scalps, followed by Joginder Sharma (11).

The legendary offie Muralitharan has picked up just half a dozen wickets, but his very presence gives the bowling an awesome look.

Kolkata, on the other hand, have relied on peak individual performances, rather than collective efforts to win five of their matches.

It has either been an out-of-the-world knock from Brendon McCullum, or raw firepower from Sourav Ganguly's blade or an amazing burst of pace bowling from Shoaib Akhtar which have enabled the side to stay afloat in the semi-final race.

David Hussey has been the only consistent performer in the side and his swashbucklign knocks in adverse situations have won two matches for the Knight Riders.

Sports buffs would also be interested to see how the Rawalpindi Express, who finished off Delhi Daredevils in a three-over burst before coming in for punishment against Mumbai Indians batsmen on Friday, shapes up against the likes of Dhoni, Hussey and Fleming.

Despite the Knight Riders shameful loss to Sachin Tendulkar-led Mumbai, the demand for tickets has sky-rocketted, with cricket afficionados hoping that for once unlike previous IPL matches the Eden track would be full of runs, which is the USP of the shortest version of the game.