About the Match
Kolkata Knight Riders and Gujarat Lions, positioned first and eighth respectively, lie at the extreme ends of the points table in the ongoing Indian Premier League. These two teams will now face each other for the second time this season in the 23rd Match of the league at Kolkata on 21st April. Kolkata had absolutely thrashed Gujarat in their previous encounter, and Gujarat will need to raise their game substantially here in order to get a win and to get things back on track.
Eden Gardens is the largest ground in India. That, however, does not impact the run scoring to a great extent. Spinners are effective on this ground which has something for everyone. It has bounce and carry for the seamers, batsmen can play their shots on the up and spinners have large boundaries to defend. There shouldn't be any dilemma in the captain's mind as most the matches are won while chasing here. KKR's has an absolutely phenomenal record while chasing. Winning the toss and fielding first will the decision of the winning captain.
Gujarat is really struggling. They are at the bottom of the table and time is surely running out for them to stay afloat in the league. They have not been able to find a settled combination and have lost matches both home and away.
Their bowling has been a big weakness and they were able to take only one wicket combined in their first two losses against Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad. Andrew Tye, playing his first game, picked up a five-wicket haul in their next match against Rising Pune Supergiant, and gave Lions their only win of the season so far.
This win could have led to a shift in momentum but it was not to be. In their fourth game against Mumbai Indians, the batting did well, but the bowling again failed to defend the total. Then against Royal Challengers Bangalore, the bowlers gave away a massive 213 runs and the batsmen could not chase it down, despite a massive effort from Brendon McCullum.
Gujarat have just a single win from five games so far and need to change their ways before it gets too late. They need to find the right combination which will start getting them wins and they need to do this soon. Dwayne Bravo was seen practicing before the last match, and if fit, he will definitely walk into the team.
Likely Starting XI:
Aaron Finch - Brendon McCullum - Suresh Raina (c) - Dinesh Karthik - Ishan Kishan - Dwayne Bravo - Ravindra Jadeja - Andrew Tye - Basil Thampi - Dhawal Kulkarni - Shadab Jakati
Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders are the current table toppers of the league. They have four wins out of five games played so far, with three consecutive wins in their last three games, and their only defeat against Mumbai was also a very closely fought affair.
Kolkata started their campaign with an absolute thrashing of Gujarat Lions, with Gambhir and Chris Lynn making a mockery of a target of 184. They lost their next game against Mumbai, but were in it right until the end and lost only by a very small margin. Then Kolkata dominated Punjab and Hyderabad with convincing wins over both the teams.
In their last game against Delhi, they were taken to the limit by a disciplined Delhi attack but Kolkata was able to hold their nerves this time and get over the line. Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan played superbly after a rare top order failure, and Pandey outfoxed Amit Mishra in the last over to set up a memorable win.
Kolkata Knight Riders are the form team of the tournament right now, and their position in the points table only amplifies this statement. All their batsmen have scored runs at different stages of the tournament, the bowling is performing well as a unit, and they will be playing at their home. Considering all these factors, it would rather be an upset if Gujarat is able to defeat them.
Likely Starting XI:
Gautam Gambhir (c) - Robin Uthappa - Manish Pandey - Yusuf Pathan - Suryakumar Yadav - Colin de Grandhomme - Sunil Narine - Chris Woakes - Kuldeep Yadav - Nathan Coulter Nile - Umesh Yadav.
The Lions and Kolkata are facing each other for the second time this season. Kolkata has all the momentum with them and is playing at home. Gujarat are a good team and they might be able to pull out a surprise here, but the smart money has to be on Kolkata to extend their winning run by another game.