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The Indian Premier League 2020 has never been this closely fought, as with just 8 more matches played to be played in the league stages and we still do not have a team that has sealed the play- offs spot. Though the race is over for the bottom dwellers CSK and RR, the remaining six teams are still well in contention.

The Thursday encounter will feature the Men in Yellow- Chennai Super Kings taking on the fifth placed Kolkata Knight Riders. The 49th match of the season is scheduled to be held at the Dubai International Stadium.

The Chennai side are out of the race and this is the first time in the history of the tournament, the MS Dhoni led team is failing to make it in the top four. While, the Kolkata Knight Riders seem to be in a tricky 5th spot, a win here would push them to the 4th spot and they will be KXIP lose their next encounter against the Rajasthan Royals. 

The Chennai Super Kings will be feeling confident coming into this encounter as after a string of losses the Men in Yellow came back well to beat the in- form RCB side, that too by a comfortable 8 wicket- margin. They will be looking to ride on the winning momentum and look to evade the title of the bottom dwellers. 

While the KKR side took a tough beating in the hands of the spirited Kings Xl Punjab, the KXIP have been unbeaten in their last 5 matches and KKR were the recent addition to their list. The Kings Xl Punjab looked very comfortable in the chase of 149, as KL Rahul and Co. finished the match with 8 wickets and an over to spare.

The last time the two sides met, the Kolkata side came out as the winners. KKR after winning the toss elected to bat first and with their opener Rahul Tripathi scoring a fluent 81 of 51 balls and anchoring the innings ensured the team reached a decent total of 167. The Men in Yellow well in place to win the match when they were racing away at 99/2 in the 12 overs. But the brilliant death bowling of Sunil Narine and Pat Cummins ensured the Chennai side ended up on the losing side by a margin of ten runs.

Can the two champions Kolkata Knight Riders sneak a win here and put the Punjab side under pressure? Or will the Men in Yellow make it back to back wins and be able to restore their pride?

Head to Head

Matches Played- 23, CSK- 14, KKR- 9, N/R- 0

Team News

CSK finally managed to win a game and that too in a very convincing manner. The team did a wonderful job especially the young Ruturaj Gaikwad who played a quality innings to take the Men in Yellow home. The management will be happy to feature the same Xl that handed them a comfortable win over the in-form RCB side.

Kolkata Knight Riders on the other side have had to bench their star all- rounder Andre Russell as he was seen struggling with form and also with Lockie Ferguson bowling really good, it was a tough call to make. But now the team’s hopes of making it to the play- offs laying in the next two matches, they would be looking forward to having the experienced Andre Russell in place of the kiwis pacer Lockie Ferguson.

Pitch and Conditions

The pitch in Dubai has recently been in favor of the bowlers as the surface has slowed down considerably. But the Sunrisers team managed to score 219 runs batting first and the team chasing were knocked out for 131. This does suggest that the team chasing would definitely be under the pump if anything above 170 is scored by the team batting first. 

The due was not seen playing much a role in the previous games but with the humidity on a bit higher side it could play a part in this encounter.

The conditions are well in favor of the sport, as clear skies are expected throughout the day. The temperatures are expected to be hovering the range of 27-29 degrees. While, the humidity is likely to touch the 58 percent mark at peak.

Probable Playing Xl

Chennai Super Kings (CSK): Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, N Jagadeesan, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir, Monu Kumar

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR): Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Eoin Morgan (c), Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Andre Russell/Lockie Ferguson, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy

Key Battles

Ruturaj Gaikwad (CSK) vs Pat Cummins (KKR)

Ruturaj Gaikwad (CSK) vs Pat Cummins (KKR)

The 23- year old opener had a series of poor matches but bounced back well in the match against RCB as his innings of 65 combined with the partnerships with other the CSK top order ensured they got over the line. There was no doubt about his potential and it was only a matter of time the youngster clicked. He will be looking forward to continuing his good touch and ensure he can save his team from the embarrassing last position.

He did play the RCB bowlers well. But now what lies ahead of him is a huge task. He will be facing one of the best bowling attacks in the tournament which consists of the players like Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav. The Australian pacer Pat Cummins has been having a mediocre season in his standards but there is no doubting his caliber and he will be looking forward to picking up the in-form CSK opener in what is a crucial match for the Kolkata side.

Can the youngster outsmart the experienced Australian? Or will the spearhead make light work of the CSK opener?

Nitish Rana (KKR) vs Deepak Chahar (CSK)

Nitish Rana (KKR) vs Deepak Chahar (CSK)

The man of the match winner in the clash against Delhi Capitals, Nitish Rana has abundance of experience in his bag but his inconsistency has been his major drawback. He definitely has a wide range of shots in his arsenal and he is someone who on his day can set the opposition scuffling. 

On the other side is the thriving youngster Deepak Chahar, the pacer has been hungry for wickets this season and he has been bowling exceptionally well. The KKR opener would definitely have a task cut out in playing Chahar out in the opening over, as he has been moving the ball considerably.

Will it be one of the days of the KKR opener? Or will Chahar swing the ball in his favor?

Prediction

After the match- winning performance against the Bangalore side. The Men in Yellow would be feeling pumped up and confident coming into this encounter. While the MS Dhoni led side has nothing to lose now and can play without pressure. While the KKR have everything to play for and are in almost a must win situation.

The batting of KKR barring the one match against the Delhi Capitals has been poor and in order to win this encounter their batting has to click once again. The conditions are well in favor of the CSK side as their batsmen seem to be in better shape. With Sunil Narine struggling to pick up wickets as well as contain the batsmen, a lot will depend on the batting of the KKR.

Cricwizz predicts Chennai Super Kings to win the match