Despite beating Kings XI Punjab by a comprehensive margin, Chennai Super Kings Stephen Fleming said that his side needs to be smarter to hide the glaring holes which persist at the moment. One of the bigger causes of concern for MS Dhoni and Stephen Fleming is death bowling, and against Kolkata Knight Riders, if this falters, a certain Andre Russell can put CSK to bed.
This season, Russell has been an absolute beast - he has obliterated bowling attacks for fun and has so far smacked 207 runs off a mere 77 balls in four innings. He will now be up against MS Dhoni and his tactics and this is what renders this match a real edge.
Will MS Dhoni be able to nullify the Russell-juggernaut or will the Jamaican have another party in Chennai?
There are a couple of options which Dhoni can try out in Chennai:
Using Imran Tahir:
Andre Russell makes mincemeat of seam bowlers, he has been walloping faster bowlers too this season, but his swagger trips against quality leg-spin. MS Dhoni has Imran Tahir up his sleeve and this will be a battle to watch out for this match.
Since 2015, Andre Russell has not found his groove against leg spin. Against these tweakers, the Jamaican has not been as fluent and has managed to score only 101 runs off 79 balls. Also, he has been dismissed four times in the process.
Tahir is a man in form for Dhoni and CSK and can be held back and can be introduced into the attack when Russell takes guard.
Aiming for yorkers and short-pitched stuff
It is not as if teams have not tried this tactic against Russell, but now CSK need to be more concerted in their approach. The two balls which have got the better of Russell so far in this competition have been fast yorkers aimed at the base of middle stump and in Scott Kuggeleijn, CSK do have pace up their sleeve. Kuggeleijn prefers going around the wicket and then angling his yorkers, the type of ball which Russell does not quite fancy. Also, we have the numbers to back this theory - since 2015, the giant from Jamaica has only managed to score nine runs when dealing with yorkers or bouncers from around the wicket. Also, he has been dismissed twice against this attack.
So MS Dhoni has the bowlers and he has the theory in place, will this Russell mania finally end in Chennai?