The knock out stage of the IPL may have come sooner than expected. Both the Chennai Super Kings and the Kolkata Knight Riders need to win their remaining three games to stay alive in the competition and whoever loses today will sit on the brink of elimination. Both have won just five out of their eleven games and while Kolkata will need to work miracles with the run rate if they hope to move into the top four with a win today, Chennai could go as far as third place because of their superior run rate, if they win and Delhi crash to Mumbai.
To get there, some clever, strategic planning is needed. Chennai have struggled with a largely underperforming Indian contingent which has made fitting the four internationals into their side more puzzling than necessary. Muttiah Muralitharan was left out on a slow wicket in Nagpur, where the Super Kings went down to the Deccan Chargers and keeping him out would not be justifiable anymore. He may be included as a part of a three pronged spin attack with R Ashwin, who was superb in the powerplay against Deccan, and Shadab Jakarti. Thilan Thushara is the likeliest to make way for his compatriot.
In Image: Murali Vijay exults after making a spectacular hundred in one of the matches