IPL: Chennai Super Kings will find it tough against Kolkata Knight Riders

Chennai: When Chennai Super Kings host Kolkata Knight Riders here on Monday, MS Dhoni & Co. will be under immense pressure as Gautam Gambhir and his boys are on a high after three wins and a drawn result in their last four games and will do everything to sustain the winning momentum in this tournament.

While the Super Kings' performance has been up-and-down this season, KKR have looked a side transformed under Gautam Gambhir who himself has been in tremendous form unlike his counterpart Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

The Super Kings, winners of back-to-back titles, haven't quite looked the part with their much-hyped batting failing more than performing while the bowling too has not been up to the mark. These shortcomings have impacted their performance this season.

In contrast, the Knight Riders have emerged as one of the top sides this year with a string of stirring all-round displays that have taken them to second spot on the leaderboard with 11 points, behind toppers Delhi Daredevils (14).

Gambhir has proved to be an able leader and his form with the bat, which has seen him score 302 in eight games with three half-centuries, has proved inspirational while providing solidity at the top of the order.

Also, the move to promote Brendon McCullum to open ahead of Jacques Kallis fetched the team rich dividends in the previous game as along with Gambhir, the Kiwi put on 95 as the Knight Riders went on to make 190 against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

On the other hand, the Super Kings have not really fired in the batting department and if one overlooks the 200-plus successful chase against RCB, their willow-wielders have not clicked on a consistent basis unlike in the previous seasons.

Further, their spearhead bowler Doug Bollinger has also not been in best of form and was in fact, rested the previous match that the Super Kings lost at home to Kings XI, who defended a modest total of 156.

The Super Kings, who have nine points, however, are very much in contention for a top-four finish before the play-offs, but need to show some consistency that was their strength in the previous seasons.

Thus, Monday's game holds considerable significance for both teams while the pressure will be far more on Super Kings, for whom a win will put them on par with the Knight Riders. (IANS)