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After back-to-back losses, CSK bank on home advantage against unbeaten KKR

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Chennai: Defending champions Chennai Super Kings would expect a lot more from their top-order as they aim to get their campaign back on track against a power-packed Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL here on Monday.

Back-to-back defeats would not create panic in the forever calm CSK dressing room but the management will be keen to fix the flaws going ahead.

Skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad and the highly rated Rachin Ravindra need to up their game to provide CSK the start they need in the powerplay. Gaikwad is striking at 118.91 while Ravindra will be itching to make an impact after not doing much in the previous two games.

CSK’s leading run scorer has been Shivam Dube who has tallied 148 runs at an impressive strike rate of 160.86.

It remains to be seen if the young Sameer Rizwi is brought back into the team. The 20-year-old uncapped batter displayed promising intent in his six-ball 14 versus Gujarat Titans but a duck against Delhi Capitals in the subsequent game led to him being dropped against SRH.

Pacers Mustafizur Rahman and Matheesha Pathirana missed the last game due to different reasons, exposing the chinks in CSK’s bowling attack. If they remain unavailable for the KKR game, CSK will need to think out of the box to make up for their absence.

Thus, the onus will be upon Deepak Chahar, Tushar Deshpande and Mukesh Choudhary, alongside spinners Moeen Ali, Ravindra Jadeja and Maheesh Theekshana.

KKR, who alongside Rajathan Royals remain unbeaten in the tournament, have reaped rich dividends for their fearless approach with the bat. Having said that, the personnel in the KKR batting order allow them to bat at the same tempo throughout the innings.

Making Sunil Narine open again has proved to be a master stroke. Being the team’s highest run-scorer this season, Narine is expected to give a tough time to the CSK bowlers. His opening partner, Phil Salt, has also aided the Trinidadian to a good extent.

The middle-order comprising skipper Shreyas Iyer and Ramandeep Singh need to display a lot more consistency, while Andre Russell and Rinku Singh have excelled thus far.

Also, KKR’s bowling so far has been impeccable, which has seen even contributions from Harshit Rana, Russell and Vaibhav Arora.  Mitchell Starc and Varun Chakaravarthy are slowly finding their feet after an underwhelming show in the opening two games.

Overall, KKR’s performance across departments has been flawless and they would not want to fiddle with their playing XI for this encounter.

Given the unusual pitch behaviour at Chepauk so far, it could be another run-feast.

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