Defending champions and three-time winners Chennai Super Kings will be hosting Kolkata Knight Riders at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday. Both teams will be aiming for their fifth win of this season. At the same time, the winner of this game will also be at the summit of the points table. Both CSK and KKR have registered equal number of wins and share equal points but Kolkata are on top due to a superior net run rate. The two teams will be heading into this contest after winning their respective matches. CSK got the better of Kings XI Punjab on Saturday while KKR easily overcame Rajasthan Royals on Sunday.
Here's a look at some of the important factors which will make the clash between these two champion sides interesting.
1. The Dhoni effect: CSK skipper MS Dhoni has been very instrumental in making CSK one of the most intimidating side in this edition. The 'Thalaiva' played a huge role with the bat as well as on the field to help Chennai register their third IPL title last year. He has continued the same momentum this year by playing some crucial knocks which eventually went on to win the games for the 'Yellow Army' . In the clash against KKR, the Dhoni effect will be very essential if CSK are to register their fifth win.
2. Andre Russell's threat: The 'Russell-Muscle' is something which has kept all the bowlers on their toes. The bowlers seem to find no answers when it comes to decode the hard-hitting West Indian. The Caribbean power-hitter has had a dream IPL so far. He has scored 207 runs in five matches at a strike rate of 268.83 including a half-century. He has helped KKR snatch victory from the jaws of defeat twice against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
3. Head-to-head records: CSK are dominant over KKR when it comes to overall head-to-head records. In the 21 games that both teams have played CSK have registered 12 wins while KKR have won on eight occasions. The defending champions also enjoy a 6-2 victory margin while playing at home.
4. Battle of the spinners: The Chepauk is a happy hunting ground for the spinners. CSK have quality spinners like Harbhajan Singh, Ravindra Jadeja and Imran Tahir while KKR have the services of Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav.
5. Lynn-Narine's explosive start: Apart from Andre Russell's destruction, CSK will also have to focus on breaking the opening partnership of Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine at the earliest. The KKR openers laid a solid platform by putting on 91 runs against Rajasthan Royals on Sunday.