If there is one team to beat in this tournament it has to be the team from the east, Kolkata Knight Riders, they have earned it. KKR played some real cliffhanger games, like the one against Delhi Daredevils the other night, when the re-emergence of Manish Pandey happened. Gujarat Lions on the other hand, have not enjoyed the best of seasons like they did last time round. This year they have already lost to KKR in their own backyard. Their top heavy line-up is firing but in patches, they are not performing collectively.
This is the mismatch of the season. Kolkata Knight Riders have overcome the loss of one of their biggest players – Andre Russell – so well that another of their biggest players – Shakib Al Hasan – is struggling to break into the XI.
Means for KKR it is hunky-dory and the grapevine has it that Dwayne Bravo will still remain unavailable for the match which is a big set back for them, considering he can contribute with the bat and the ball.
The match begins at 08:00 pm IST, and it promises to be a cake-walk for KKR, but the unexpected has happened many times before in this league, so predicting something is the foolish-est thing one can do.
The likely XIs
Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Gautam Gambhir (capt), 2 Colin de Grandhomme, 3 Robin Uthappa (wk), 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Yusuf Pathan, 6 Suryakumar Yadav, 7 Chris Woakes/Shakib Al Hasan, 8 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Kuldeep Yadav, 11 Umesh Yadav/Piyush Chawla.
Gujarat Lions: 1 Brendon McCullum, 2 Dwayne Smith, 3 Suresh Raina (capt), 4 Aaron Finch/Jason Roy/James Faulkner, 5 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Ishan Kishan, 8 Andrew Tye, 9 Basil Thampi, 10 Dhawal Kulkarni, 11 Shadab Jakati