It seems that Gujarat Lions like to excel at everything they do, be it topping the league table in their debut season or topping from the bottom in this season. The humiliating defeat against KKR in this season would still be fresh in their minds when Chris Lynn single-handedly punched them.
Now they are going to take on the same team but their bowlers would be relieved to some extent as they won’t have to bowl to the dangerous man. KKR is looking in sublime form as they have won 4 out of their 5 matches. On the other hand, GL has done the opposite as they have a solitary win in the tournament so far.
For Gujarat Lions, it is like a must-win game if they want to keep any hopes of qualifying for the play-offs alive and they will be facing a tough challenge from KKR. They can take a bit of confidence from their last season when they went on to win both of their league matches against them.
Brendon McCullum looks like the lone warrior in their struggle so far and they would be hoping that the likes of Suresh Raina and Aaron Finch strike back to form sooner than later. Jadeja’s return has not been that impressive as they were hoping and their seam bowlers are continuing to have a tough time apart from Andrew Tye who should be given the new ball to bowl in the powerplay.
It will be interesting to see that Gujarat Lions give Ishan Kishan a chance at the top of the order as the youngster played an impressive cameo of 39 off just 16 balls.
They have dearly missed the services of Dwayne Bravo and haven’t played James Faulkner yet and may be the latter inclusion can give some solutions to their bowling woes. The young Basil Thampi has impressed everyone with his speed as well as yorkers and GL will be hoping that he continues to bowl in the same fashion.
KKR have looked like a winning unit and almost everybody has clicked at the right time. Gambhir has two unbeaten fifties, Uthappa was lucky in his knock against SRH, Manish Pandey is finishing the games and out of form, Yusuf Pathan came back to his best.
Sunil Narine is doing what he does best and the batters are yet to solve his mystery, Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla have also supported him well. The only concern they might be having would be the form of Chris Woakes and Trent Boult but we all know the latter has been a bit unlucky so far in the tournament. So almost everybody is contributing for the team which is a very positive sign for them going forward.
KKR is expected to go with the same squad but they have been giving us surprises in every match with their opening slot selection so it would be interesting to see that they go with Shakib Al Hasan who is yet to play a match for them in place of Colin de Grandhomme. Nathan Coulter-Nile was brilliant for them in his debut match as he picked up 3 for 22 and also bagged the man of the match award.
Toss Predictions: Gujarat Lions will win the toss and will elect to field.
Match Predictions: KKR will be the favourites, playing at home would also add to that and Lions will know that roaring against them will not be a cakewalk. The pitch is expected to provide help for the pace and the dew as always will be a huge factor at Eden Gardens.
KKR Probable XI: Gautam Gambhir (c), Robin Uthappa (wk), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Suryakumar Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine, Umesh Yadav, Trent Boult, Nathan Coulter-Nile.
GL Probable XI: Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Suresh Raina (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Aaron Finch, Ishan Kishan, Andrew Tye, Ravindra Jadeja, Praveen Kumar, Basil Thampi, Dhawal Kulkarni.
Venue: Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
Date & Kick-off– April 21, 2017, 8:00 PM IST.
Live Streaming – Sony SIX, Sony SIX HD, Sony Max, Sony Max HD, Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD and Hot Star.