The previous match these two played became the one of most talked about games this season, after Vinay Kumar faltered in the execution of a yorker that became a full toss that Dwayne Bravo blasted it into the stands to win it.
That match itself was high-scoring and some of the questions it prompted have remained the same. How these sides address them will likely determine the winner on Thursday evening.
Halfway into the tournament the Super Kings have proved to be the best batting unit – in terms of run rate across the three phases of innings. They are third in the Powerplay (8.92), but have the best scoring rate in the middle overs (8.54) and at the death (12.64) where MS Dhoni has regained his golden touch as a finisher. However that advantage is virtually erased by the sloppiness of their bowling, which has been inconsistent throughout innings. The absence of a good new-ball bowler is evident in the Powerplay phase, where the Super Kings are fourth most expensive with an economy rate of 8.63. It gets worse as the innings goes on: in the middle overs, they are third-worst, conceding at 8.40; at the death, where Super Kings have leaked runs at 11.42 an over, they are second-worst in the tournament.
© ESPNcricinfo Ltd
Luckily it would seem for Super Kings, Knight Riders have failed to sustain the early momentum gained by their top order comprising Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine and Robin Uthappa. At the death, Knight Riders lose a wicket every 10.5 balls and score a boundary every five deliveries. Their run rate of 9.91 in this phase is decent, but nothing that truly hurts the opposition.
Clearly then this could be a battle that is won or lost at the death.
In the news
Nitish Rana has back spasms and will undergo a fitness assessment on the morning of the game. In case he is unfit, Knight Riders could choose between Ishank Jaggi and Rinku Singh.
It is the match that will be remembered as the one that pushed fans to troll India seamer Vinay Kumar, following the penultimate-ball six by Dwayne Bravo that helped Super Kings chase down a target of 203. That game also happened to be the last match played in Chennai, after which Super Kings’ home base was switched to Pune.
Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Chris Lynn, 2 Sunil Narine, 3 Robin Uthappa, 4 Dinesh Karthik (capt & wk), 5 Nitesh Rana/Ishank Jaggi, 6 Andre Russell, 7 Shubman Gill, 8 Piyush Chawla, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Shivam Mavi, 11 Tom Curran/Mitchell Johnson
Chennai Super Kings: 1 Shane Watson, 2 Faf du Plessis, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Dwayne Bravo, 8 Karn Sharma, 9 Harbhajan Singh, 10 Shardul Thakur, 11 Lungi Ngidi
© ESPNcricinfo Ltd
Best chance for Sunil Narine to regain his impact with the ball. Narine picked up seven wickets in the first four matches, but then could manage just the one wicket in the next four games during which he conceded at a rate of 10.3 with an average of 144. However his numbers against the specialist batsmen in Super Kings are healthy and home conditions are likely to favour Narine.
Stats that matter
- Andre Russell can overpower all kinds of bowling. Of particular note in that list is Russell’s Caribbean team-mate Dwayne Bravo. Russell has 216 runs off 102 balls he has faced from Bravo, a strike rate of 211.8 in 17 innings
- Sunil Narine has had the better of Shane Watson, Super Kings’ gun batsman. In 13 T20 innings he has bowled against the Australian, Narine has got Watson six times
- Robin Uthappa needs 23 runs to register 4000 runs in the IPL. Uthappa also needs nine runs to register 1000 runs at Eden Gardens in the IPL
- Piyush Chawla needs two wickets to register 50 wickets for KKR in the IPL. He will become the first player in IPL history to pick up 50-plus wickets for multiple teams. Chawla previously took 84 wickets for Kings XI Punjab
- This IPL, Chris Lynn has been defensive against left-arm spinners: in four innings so far, out of 27 deliveries he has faced against them, he has got 25 runs at a strike rate of 92.6 with a dot ball percentage of 44.4, and has been out twice
The Eden Gardens pitch has helped quick bowlers more than spinners, which gives Andre Russell two bites at the cherry; he can be great value if he gets to bat too, not least because he has big numbers against Super Kings at the death.
Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.