Dhoni might re-work bowling combination for KKR encounter

RPS, still reeling from the assault by AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli two nights ago in front of home fans, faces stroke-players lesser in achievement maybe, but as destructive at the crease. Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa and Andre Russell are in form and capable of dismantling any attack.

Dhoni has already put his finger on the problem and fine-tuning the bowling will have been worked out. Kevin Pietersen’s calf injury, described by the RPS skipper as a blessing in disguise, may create a slot for a bowling all-rounder.   -  AKhilesh Kumar

Finding it difficult to get the Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) bowling unit to deliver, M. S. Dhoni and teammates run into Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Sunday night in IPL 2016. The visitor, training at the MCA stadium since three days ago to get a feel of the conditions, has a squad filled with batting heavyweights ready and willing to attack.

RPS, still reeling from the assault by AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli two nights ago in front of home fans, faces stroke-players lesser in achievement maybe, but as destructive at the crease. Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa and Andre Russell are in form and capable of dismantling any attack.

Dhoni has already put his finger on the problem and fine-tuning the bowling will have been worked out. Kevin Pietersen’s calf injury, described by the RPS skipper as a blessing in disguise, may create a slot for a bowling all-rounder.

The CSK formula

Five bowlers completing their four-over quota was the base on which Chennai Super Kings tasted success under him. Rajat Bhatia is effective in the slog overs by slowing down the pace and forcing the batsmen to take chances. Irfan Pathan is known for control, while Albie Morkel's ability to execute the team plan is familiar to the captain from their CSK days.

Murugan Ashwin still carries value for RPS on the Pune pitch. RCB proved this with slow bowlers Iqbal Abdulla and Tabraiz Shamsi against RPS. This pitch could also be ideal for a canny operator like KKR’s Piyush Chawla.

The leg-spinner, asked about the nature of the wicket, said: “From what we saw of the game against RCB, the wicket is a little on the slower side.” Chawla is a utility player, overshadowed by star names. But he is able to create pressure situations with control over length and the knack of taking wickets. He also hits the ball long and hard. KKR’s high success rate in this IPL, he feels, is due to getting the team combination right. “We were able to keep teams below 150. Our bowling and batting combinations are working,” he said.

Manish Pandey has chickenpox

Chawla also revealed that Manish Pandey was suffering from chickenpox and will be missed. Pandey is credited with the first century by an Indian in the IPL.

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