To say that the Gujarat Lions have been disappointing would be an absolute understatement. Winning just 1 out of 5 matches with players of the calibre of McCullum, D. Smith, Raina and Finch is not acceptable. GL would look to move up from the bottom tonight. The Knight Riders, on the other hand have been on a roll, winning 4 out of 5 matches. KKR would look to regain the top spot which Mumbai attained after winning last night. So here are the Match Preview and Predictions as the Lions take on the flying Knights !
The Eden Gardens is again expected to be a track which assists the bowlers a lot. The pacers will have an impact on the green and bouncy pitch. The spinners would also come to the party like they did in the last match at Eden Gardens. The batsmen may have a tough time unless they apply themselves and play every ball on its merit. The outfield at Eden Gardens would be quick as usual.
GUJARAT LIONS – STRENGTHS
Inspite of poor performances, the Lions have a few bright sparks. Brendon McCullum has been in riveting form and is 4th on the orange cap list. Raina has shown glimpses of good form. Dinesh Karthik has been consistent with the bat scoring quick runs when the team needs them. A special mention must be made of the young Ishan Kishan who played a blinder scoring 39 off 16 against RCB almost guiding Gujarat home. The only positives for the bowling coach Heath Streak would be Andre Tye and Basil Thampi’s performances. They have been accurate and extremely impressive.
GUJARAT LIONS – CONCERNS
Concerns are galore for this Rajkot-based franchise. Dwayne Smith and Aaron Finch have been very disappointing so far in the tournament. When 2 of your overseas players are not able to contribute, the team is bound to suffer. However, the main worry for the Lions would be their bowling which has looked far from settled. Ravindra Jadeja has been extremely ordinary with both bat and ball. Dhawal Kulkarni and Praveen Kumar, their strike bowlers of last season, have looked patchy and have been taken to the cleaners for plenty of runs. The spin bowling is a huge concern for the Gujarat Lions. Along with Jadeja, Shivil Kaushik and Shadab Jakati have been expensive and not at all useful. The spinners of GL have just taken 1 wicket this far in the tournament.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS – STRENGTHS
The KKR have been a force to reckon with this IPL. A win today would put them back on the top of the table. Gautam Gambhir has been refreshingly brilliant with the bat this season with 196 runs in 5 matches. Robin Uthappa has also looked good in some matches with a highest score of 68. Manish Pandey is in the running for the Orange Cap just behind McCullum on the 5th spot. Yusuf Pathan looked dangerous and like his old self in the previous match when he notched up a quick-fire 50. The bowling of KKR also looks pretty settled with Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav spinning a web around the opponents. Nathan Coulter-Nile was brought into the team in the match against DD and he was mind-blowing with the ball which earned him the Man of the Match award on his debut for KKR. Chris Woakes also looked good in the last match.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS – CONCERNS
Gautam Gambhir would need to address a few concerns. The opening slot conundrum has to be settled. Sunil Narine and Colin de Grandhomme have been tried at the top of the order but it hasn’t really worked as yet for KKR. The lack of form of Surya Yadav would be a worry and he may soon have to make way for in-form players like Ishank Jaggi if he doesn’t perform. The only weak link in the bowling has been Umesh Yadav. Although he did pick up 4 wickets in his first match this season, he has been far from any kind of form leaking a lot of runs in the Poweplay and the death overs. Hence, Umesh must be used in the middle overs where he would be efficient.
GL – Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Suresh Raina, Aaron Finch, Dinesh Karthik, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, Andrew Tye, Basil Thampi, Munaf Patel, Tejas Baroka.
KKR – Gautam Gambhir, Colin de Grandhomme, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Surya Yadav, Chris Woakes, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Umesh Yadav.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Played – 3, GL won – 2, KKR won – 1
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CONCLUSION AND MATCH PREDICTION
In the previous encounter of these 2 teams, KKR’s Lynn and Gambhir massacred the Lions and won the match in a dominant manner. Jacques Kallis would be expecting a similar performance tonight so that KKR regain the top position. The Lions, on the other side, have been pathetic winning only 1 game so far. If they want to have any chance of qualifying for the playoffs, they need to start winning matches immediately. KKR remain the favourites today in their fortress. Here’s what we predict for tonight’s clash.
TOSS – GL wins and opts to field.
1ST INNINGS SCORE – 165-175
MATCH – KKR win by 15-20 runs
TOSS – KKR wins and opts to field.
1ST INNINGS SCORE – 150-160
MATCH – KKR win by 5-7 wickets.