Rampaging Chennai Super Kings await battered Kolkata Knight Riders

The search for an elusive win is likely to continue for the bruised and battered Kolkata Knight Riders as they will be up against the rampaging Chennai Super Kings in an Indian Premier League match on Monday.

It is a nightmare that is refusing to end for Kolkata, which earned the dubious distinction of stumbling to eight successive defeats in the IPL after losing a final-over thriller to Deccan Chargers Saturday night.

Brendon McCullum’s unimaginative captaincy has only added to Kolkata’s problems, which are aplenty.

The team is a divided house, its top players are struggling to conjure up decent performances and it seems unlikely that Kolkata’s freefall will stop anytime soon.

The Shah Rukh Khan-owned outfit had been in disarray much before the tournament started and its woes only got compounded by repeated on-field failures.

The arrival of Australian David Hussey was expected to boost Kolkata’s sagging fortunes and although he has proved to be quite a swashbuckler with the bat, his solo efforts cannot galvanise a side so deep in trouble.

Sourav Ganguly, despite being among runs, has not been quick enough for a Twenty20 match. The bowlers didn’t get decent targets to defend most of the time and on occasions they got, Ishant Sharma and co were badly let down by poor fielding.

In contrast, except for the stunning loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chennai have been on a roll, already assured of a semifinal berth and they have one man to thank for most of the hard work.

Retired Australian opener Matthew Hayden, the tournament’s leading scorer with five half-centuries under his belt, has been simply unstoppable.

Hayden and an equally rampaging Suresh Raina have been the mainstays of Chennai’s batting and with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni also coming into his own after a slow start, the team’s line-up looks solid.

Bowling too is strong with star Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan leading the attack.

Given Kolkata’s miserable run, the contest looks like a cakewalk for Chennai but tournament-laggards would be hoping to put an end to their nightmare in case Dhoni’s men get complacent.

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