The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) left the fans scratching their heads over the batting order against the Delhi Capitals on Sunday. Many were critical of the batting positions of some players and a section of fans even called for the sacking of Dinesh Karthik as the captain of the side. The pressure is now mounting on Karthik as the side faces Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday.
A few of his decisions have raised eyebrows -- and his own form with the bat doesn't help Karthik's cause either. The wicketkeeper-batsman has only scored 27 runs in four matches of the tournament so far.
However, he has continued to bat above Eoin Morgan who has been in significantly better touch so far. The match against Delhi Capitals could be seen as a case in point where Morgan and Rahul Tripathi had almost steered KKR to a stunning win in a 229 run-chase.
Batting above Morgan, he could score only six runs in 8 balls before sending bowler Pat Cummins to bat above Tripathi, who is naturally an opening batsman.
The experiment with Sunil Narine as the opening batsman hasn't worked for KKR either but the management continues to stick with him, which has further garnered criticism for Karthik.
Karthik will also need to back his bowlers, especially Indian lead spinner Kuldeep Yadav who seems to have been under-utilised and bowled just nine overs after being dropped from the Delhi game.
In contrast, Chennai Super Kings secured a much-needed win after three successive losses in style as they beat Kings XI Punjab by 10 wickets. Even as the side's middle-order remains a concern, the victory was a confidence booster.
The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side would look to make its ascent to top-four from being at the bottom. Not known to tweak his side much, Dhoni persisted with Shane Watson and the Aussie veteran finally came to form with an unbeaten 83.
Chasing 179 against Kings XI Punjab, Watson and Faf du Plessis made light work of their bowlers in a record 181-run unbeaten stand to seal the chase.
The coming to form of a mis-firing top order is what CSK needed to come out of a miserable start and having done that, they would certainly look favourites against a struggling KKR.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (C), Andre Russell, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Rinku Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Siddhesh Lad, Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Eoin Morgan, Varun Chakravarthy, Tom Banton, Rahul Tripathi, Chris Green, M Siddharth, Nikhil Naik, Ali Khan.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (C), M Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner, Josh Hazlewood, Shardul Thakur, Sam Curran, N Jagadeesan, KM Asif, Monu Kumar, R Sai Kishore, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Karn Sharma.