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Power-packed Kolkata Knight Riders look to extend Mumbai Indians' winless UAE streak



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‘Have to bite my tongue’



A Super Over loss against the Kolkata Knight Riders left David Warner having to “bite his tongue” to stop himself saying something overtly harsh, but the Sunrisers Hyderabad captain admitted to being disappointed with the result.

“I don’t know what to say, I’ll probably have to bite my tongue a little bit,” Warner told the host broadcaster after the match. “We probably leaked a few too many, towards the middle overs and towards the back end. For us it’s about trying to finish games. We’ve come too close the last three games and we haven’t got across the line, so I’m quite disappointed.”

The Knight Riders made a competitive 163 for 5 after being put in thanks to a strong finish, but Warner felt his decision to bowl first in Abu Dhabi was the right one. “I stick by my decision. Coming from Dubai I felt this wicket looks like a nice batting wicket and wasn’t going to change too much, and to be honest, it didn’t,” he said. “It held up a little in the middle of the wicket, but at the end of that day that is no excuse. I felt 165-170 was probably a par total. We lost wickets at crucial times again.”

Dinesh Karthik, who batted at No. 6 for the Knight Riders and hit 29* off 14 in a frenetic stand with Eoin Morgan that brought 58 runs in the last five overs, felt his team had complicated matters in what should have been an easier win. “It was a game we could have won a bit comfortably,” Karthik said. “We made it tough for ourselves, but we kind of came back at the end and showed character.”

That was thanks in large measure to Lockie Ferguson, as the New Zealand quick, playing his first game of the season, picked up 3 for 15 in regulation time and then bowled the Super Over in which he castled Warner first ball and Abdul Samad third ball. Understandably, Morgan was pleased.

“For Lockie Ferguson to come in for his first game of his tournament so far and perform in both the 20-over game and the Super Over like he did was outstanding,” Morgan said. “The hunger and drive that he’s shown off the field, he’s been waiting for an opportunity.”



Tom Moody looks back on KKR’s Super-over win over SRH in Abu Dhabi 

Injury worries for both teams

Both the Knight Riders and the Sunrisers had to deal with injuries to key players during the game. In the first innings, Kane Williamson got an adductor injury when making a diving stop, and in the second, Andre Russell was off the field for a short while clutching his hamstring.

Williamson’s injury meant he was pushed up the order to open with Jonny Bairstow, reducing the running between the wickets that middle-overs batting demands. He fell to the first ball after the powerplay, having hit 29 off 19 in a rapid 58-run opening stand. As a result, Warner had to drop down the order.

“Yeah he obviously had to open the batting there, he’s got a slight niggle towards the top end of his adductor,” Warner said. “He’ll have to get some physio treatment the next couple of days and hopefully comes up.”

Russell had already bowled one over before hobbling off, but came back to bowl the final over. Even though he bowled off a short run-up and ambled rather than ran in, he gave up only 17 runs in the last over to force a tie. This was after he had started with a no-ball and the equation came down to the Sunrisers needing two off the last ball with Warner on strike. However, Russell conceded only a leg-bye.

“Dre went off the field, we thought he was injured. He came back on and said he could bowl,” Morgan said. “Obviously, (you) trust the player, and he came off a short run which he does every so often. Didn’t manage to execute as well as he would have liked. I thought he showed a lot of character to come back and get us to the Super Over after not starting as well as he’d like with a no-ball. He’s a superstar performer for us. He’s been such an integral part of the franchise for such a long time, so we need Andre Russell fit.”

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Match Preview – Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals, Indian Premier League 2020 2020, 37th Match



Big picture

The Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals are in a bit of crisis at this point in the tournament. Both sides have lost six of their nine games and have lost their respective last matches which were close contests. But there were positives in their respective losses too – a few of their batsmen showed good hitting form, albeit a bit too late into the tournament. Or maybe not.

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The chopping and changing of the line-up has not been fruitful, but the Royals’ batting looked in much better shape in the match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, with a few drastic but much-needed changes in place. While Robin Uthappa’s promotion to the top of the order worked well, captain Steven Smith at his usual No. 4 position hit form with a half-century and gave them the required impetus from the middle order. Sanju Samson, however, has continued to struggle with the bat after a dream start to the tournament. In the end, an incredible AB de Villiers assault and the gamble of giving Jaydev Unadkat the penultimate over instead of Jofra Archer cost them two points.

For the Super Kings, however, it was fielding slip-ups that proved costly in the game against the Delhi Capitals. Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis, although a bit slow to get off the blocks with the bat, laid out the foundation. Their middle order, which had lacked firepower up to that point, stepped up and plundered 57 runs off the last four overs against arguably the best death bowling attack in the tournament. Jadeja, coming in after MS Dhoni’s yet another low score, struck a 13-ball 33 not out as Ambati Rayudu helped from the other end with an unbeaten 25-ball 45.

While both sides’ campaigns are nearing a point of no return, a win for either of these teams will give their playoffs pursuit a big push.

In the news

Dwayne Bravo’s groin injury kept him off the field during the Capitals’ chase, which eventually prevented him from bowling the crucial final over of the match. Coach Stephen Fleming said Bravo would miss “a few days or a couple of weeks”. The Super Kings could look to bring back Josh Hazlewood or go for an extra spinner in Imran Tahir.

Previous meeting

A Samson special ensured a 16-run win for the Royals in their opening match of the season in Sharjah. Samson slammed a 32-ball 74 and took Royals to 216. In response, the Super Kings fell short by 16 runs even as du Plessis scored a 37-ball 72.

Likely XIs

Chennai Super Kings: 1 Faf du Plessis, 2 Sam Curran, 3 Shane Watson, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 MS Dhoni (capt, wk), 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Deepak Chahar, 8 Piyush Chawla, 9 Shardul Thakur, 10 Karn Sharma, 11 Josh Hazlewood/ Imran Tahir

Rajasthan Royals: 1 Jos Buttler (wk), 2 Robin Uthappa, 3 Sanju Samson, 4 Steven Smith (capt), 5 Ben Stokes 6 Riyan Parag, 7 Rahul Tewatia, 8 Jofra Archer, 9 Shreyas Gopal/Mayank Markande, 10 Jaydev Unadkat, 11 Kartik Tyagi

Strategy Punt

  • The Super Kings could use Sam Curran as a floater. Curran opened the innings in the last two games with contrasting returns: against the Sunrisers, he made a 21-ball 31 but was dismissed for a duck against the Capitals. He could be used in the middle overs to counter the Royals’ spinners as he averages over 50 and strikes at 241 against spin this season.

  • Are the Royals missing a trick by pushing Jos Buttler down the order? Buttler has been at his best while opening the innings and is the only opener, apart from Chris Gayle, to average over 40 and strike at 150-plus in the IPL. Meanwhile, Stokes has not been particularly successful in his new role at the top. Will the Royals swap their positions?

  • Will the Royals bring in Mayank Markande against the Super Kings? The Super Kings haven’t exactly been at their best against spin this year, with a scoring rate of only 7.7. This might prompt the Royals to bring in Markande and bowl him along with Shreyas Gopal and Rahul Tewatia, also considering the fact that their legspinners picked up four wickets during the reverse fixture earlier in the tournament.

Stats that matter

  • The Super Kings and the Royals were among the top spin units in 2019 but their spinners have been misfiring this season. While the Super Kings spinners have been the most expensive this season, with an economy of 9.1, the Royals’ have taken the least wickets (12).

  • Jofra Archer has been the key for the Royals this season, both in the powerplay and at the death. Among fast bowlers who have bowled at least 20 overs this season, Archer has the best economy (7).

  • Dhoni is set to be the first to 200 matches in the IPL.

  • The Royals have lost the most wickets in the powerplay compared to other teams this season. They’ve lost 27 wickets in nine matches and on average, have lost a wicket almost every 16th ball.

  • Rayudu is five short of 5000 T20 runs.

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Recent Match Report – Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad 35th Match 2020



Kolkata Knight Riders 163 for 5 (Gill 36, Morgan 34, Karthik 29*, Natarajan 2-40) tied with Sunrisers Hyderabad 163 for 6 (Warner 47*, Bairstow 36, Ferguson 3-15)
Super Over Kolkata Knight Riders 3 for 0 beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 2 for 2

Two mid-table sides separated by just two points. Two misfiring middle orders. Two squads unable to use their reserve overseas players in the best possible way. Two teams that were neck and neck with three wins each against each other since 2018. What happened when they met on Sunday evening? A Super Over, of course.

Lockie Ferguson made that one-over face-off a one-sided affair though. Playing his first match in over seven months, Ferguson, in the space of three balls, first removed David Warner’s off stump to hand him a golden duck and then hit the base of Abdul Samad’s middle stump with a full and slower delivery, with only two runs allowed in between. A single from Eoin Morgan and two leg-byes off Dinesh Karthik’s pads with a fumble at short-fine leg gave the Kolkata Knight Riders two points from the third Super Over of the season to keep them on fourth place on the points table.

Ferguson had earlier dented the Sunrisers Hyderabad chase of 164 with a spectacular spell of fast bowling that read 4-0-3-15 without conceding a single boundary. Ferguson did the damage against a tweaked Sunrisers line-up that saw Kane Williamson open with Jonny Bairstow, and Warner push himself down to No. 4. He allowed just seven in the 18th over when the Sunrisers needed 37 from 18. With 30 to win from 12, Samad and Warner targeted Shivam Mavi on the off side for two fours before the former fell off the last ball of the over – another dismissal that featured Ferguson. Samad had clubbed a full toss to deep midwicket where Ferguson pouched the ball right inside the rope before carefully lobbing it to Shubman Gill when he lost balance.

Warner had struck only two fours in his 28-ball 33 when the last over started with Andre Russell bowling a big wide outside off to Rashid Khan from around the wicket which was later called a no-ball. Once Warner got strike, he first found the cow-corner boundary, then hammered a length delivery past the bowler and then whipped an innocuous-looking leg-stump delivery for the third four in a row. With four to get off two, Warner took a double but couldn’t get bat on the last ball and settled for one leg-bye when Russell nipped the ball into his pads. It was time for a Super Over.

More to follow…

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