Chahar will open the bowling from over the wicket.
Dhoni is ready with his troops, as the KKR openers get set too.
1.55pm All set for this clash then. Can Gill and Iyer continue to provide their side with those dominating starts? Or can Chahar, Hazlewood and company limit them this afternoon?
Is Morgan the batter feeling the heat? Carlos Brathwaite and Deep Dasgupta discuss.
Kumar: “Why is Bravo not playing? Is he injured?” — Dhoni said they are just trying to manage his workload today, since he is just back from CPL.
Aditya: “I’ll ask, What team are you considering as favourites today Himanshu?” — I think it’s a tough one to answer – not least because I want to sound diplomatic – because KKR’s openers and spinners have been in great touch. And although CSK need more from Raina and Dhoni, their other batters and bowlers have kept the opposition in check.
Hello then. Looks like Debayan has left me in a mess here, with both sides in some fine touch of late.
1.38pm Here’s Himanshu Agrawal for the first time today. Why don’t you ask him which team he’s rooting for in this one?
Chennai Super Kings: Ruturaj Gaekwad, Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (capt) (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Josh Hazlewood
Kolkata Knight Riders: Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (capt), Nitish Rana, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy
1 pm Kolkata have won the toss and will bat. Kolkata are unchanged. Morgan reckons the pitch will slow up a bit as the game wears on. For Dhoni, Sam Curran is in for Dwayne Bravo.
Shakir Rafiq: “KKR should replace Narine with Sakib Hasan a pure allrounder on this slow track Sakib will more effective against Faf ” — My colleagues and Bangladesh superfans Deivarayan Muthu and Anuj Vignesh will be most pleased to hear that.
1.25 pm Not long for the toss. Just enough time for us to give you the top fantasy tips for this game.
Fasna: “Hi Deb- Which team has the most fan base in your Cricinfo Office? XD ” — There are some very serious fans of KKR and RCB, but I would think CSK leads by a comfortable margin. #KnowledgeableChennai and all…
“I hope today they will bring in Tim Southee instead of Sunil Narine or Lockie Ferguson” — Deck, my friend, you will not be in Alagappan Muthu’s Diwali/Christmas mailing list with the suggestion of replacing Narine
Garv Asnani: “I really want Dhoni to come at no.3 and play freely if CSK bats first or if it’s not a big total. These are probably his last 2-3 seasons so really want to see the best of him as a fan.” — A little wishful, but I know what you mean.
1.06 pm It will be the same pitch that was used for the game between Delhi Capitals and Rajasthan Royals 24 hours ago. Nick Knight and Laxman Sivaramakrishnan have taken a look and said that it looks like it will be slow, and on the drier side. They would expect bowlers to enjoy themselves with variations in pace, length, and the occasional fuller delivery. Should be a fascinating battle, because these are two teams with some great variety in their bowling.
Faf du Plessis, who actually remembers that the last time he was in Abu Dhabi was when he was involved in that horrific concussion that he says still causes him some discomfort around his neck, speaks about how CSK are approaching this season based on learnings from 2020: “Last time we were in Dubai, we needed to make some improvements. We bat a lot more deep now, and we keep attacking from the outset. If you see guys like Rayudu and Moeen, they keep attacking from the word go and put the pressure on the opposition and it makes it easier for us. We haven’t played in the day during this leg yet. We will need to assess and then take it from there.”
Lockie Ferguson, on the influence of Brendon McCullum on this team: “Last year, we saw that hard lengths are difficult to get away. We’ll just have to adjust and take it from there. Really enjoyed being a part of the brand. As a Kiwi, I know Baz’s brand of cricket pretty well. We just have to take on every challenge thrown at us.”
Ruturaj Gaikwad on his CSK experience: “It’s been good. There are lots of senior players and there’s so much to learn from them. (On MS) There’s something new to learn everyday from him. There’s no day when you don’t feel goosebumps, but now I am getting used to it. The grounds are bigger than in India, the dimensions are slightly bigger. The heat and humidity also makes it a bit more challenging.”
12.54 pm Right, ahead of the toss (which is a little over half an hour away), some of the players have been speaking to the broadcasters. Let’s bring you some of the reactions. Here’s Nitish Rana: “The atmosphere has been good. Our captain has said there’s nothing to lose and we are playing more freely as a result. It’s a young side, and we spoke ahead of the tournament that we might be able to make an impression if we play aggressive cricket. [On opening] In the second half, the opening stand between Venkatesh Iyer and Shubman Gill has been really good. I don’t think there’s a better Indian opening pair. There’s spin in these pitches, and there’s also a bit of humidity around. Spin will definitely make an impact.”
“This is could final time when 2 World Cup Winning Captains clashes against each other in the League Stage unless we have another “Definitely Not” at the end of the season and Morgan is leading again (KKR or some other side following the Mega Auction) !!” — As Mustafa Moudi correctly observes.
I’m Debayan Sen, and Himanshu Agrawal will team up with me to bring you this particular clash, between two teams that have just hit some great form among the sand dunes. Let’s get you into the groove with this preview from Sruthi Ravindranath.
12.45 pm It’s Chennai v Kolkata to get us going on this Super Sunday. I personally don’t like that cliche a lot, but India’s women have just ensured even before an IPL ball has been bowled today, that that should be called the case, snapping a 26-match winning streak for the Australians.