Going by past records, the difference between the two sides is quite stark. Yet, when Kolkata Knight Riders attempt to halt Chennai Super Kings' march towards the Indian Premier League crown for the third consecutive year, the contest will surely be riveting and pulsating courtesy the quality of players who will take to the field.
While Chennai Super Kings have not had the best of form in the ongoing season, the team had a bit of fortune going their way to move past the league stages and have since, peaked extremely well. Kolkata on the other end of the field have managed to stay on top or close to it, throughout this season. When the two teams collide against each other at Chepauk, certain battles will surely be a sight to behold.
Dhoni vs Gambhir: The two are well-established maverick players in cricket. Their ability to lead the side too, has not been doubted too often. MS Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir however have their individual styles and temperaments which are absolutely different. While Dhoni is the calm and composed skipper who backs his instincts even if, at times, many do not understand his decisions, Gambhir has elevated himself to a position from where his passion for the sport and the sheer desire to win, reflects clearly for all else to see.
At the biggest stage of IPL, the contrasting styles of marshalling men can be a sight to behold.
Morkel vs Kallis: This can be an all-South African battle that can decide the fate of their respective IPL teams. While Jacques Kallis has experience, skill and a fantastic reputation backing him, Albie Morkel has the numbers to counter his senior with. In a recent interview, Morkel said that although his international appearances have been rather limited, he feels he would be known more for his performance with the Chennai Super Kings. Considering in this season, the 30-year-old has claimed 12 wickets from 15 matches with a best of 3/29 and also has the best strike rate in the side (not counting Srikkanth Anirudha's 271 from 2 innings), Morkel will surely be a card that Dhoni would keep close to his team's battle-plans.
A look at Kallis' figures returns similar numbers. In this season, he has 14 wickets from 16 matches and has hit 340 with a best of 79. Of course, he bats at number 3 while Morkel comes in to bat at the end. Their styles however have been effective so far and there may just be a clash of one upmanship here.
Hussey vs Balaji: These two players are not show-stoppers but they do go about their business with calm. They have managed to set the base for their respective teams and can play a pivotal role at the top. When Balaji hunts for the early wicket, there will be Michael Hussey standing in his way. With a best of 4/18, the Kolkata bowler will count on making the most of the new ball. Hussey though will not be an easy challenge with his 207 runs from 7 innings at an average of 29.57.
Vijay vs Narine: He can play the big shots and he can spin his opposition into submission. While Vijay was ordinary before exploding against Delhi with his 58-ball 113, he can make the confidence work for him and, possibly, stage an encore. His armoury of shots against spinners is diverse and he looks at ease against the slower bowlers.
Narine though, has been credited as one of the most vital reasons for Kolkata's success. He had been consistent, precise, lethal and has asked questions to which most batsmen have had no answer. He has a huge haul of 24 wickets to show for his efforts.
Ashwin vs Pathan: Both R Ashwin and Yusuf Pathan seem ready to explode with fireworks that have largely been missing from their game, in this season. Ashwin has a credible haul of 13 wickets while Pathan's knock of 40 in the previous match against Delhi was a sign of ominous things to come.
When Pathan charges down the pitch against Ashwin, either result can be a thriller beyond what words can seek to explain.