Preview: M3 - GL vs KKR
The Gujarat Lions will take on twice champions Kolkata Knight Riders in Match 3 of the VIVO IPL 2017.
Gujarat Lions, table toppers in their debut season, will want to finish this season with some riches. The franchise has retained the bulk of the team that did duty for them last season and have signed on some exciting home-bred talent to further boost their squad; Basil Thampy, who impressed with his pace in domestic cricket earlier this season, is among the GL players to keep an eye on. The Gujarat Lions will have to make do without the services of two important players; Dwayne Bravo - the highest wicket-taker in the T20 format – is yet to recover from an hamstring injury, while Ravindra Jadeja too will miss his team’s season opener due to a finger injury.
KKR will be keen to add to their two IPL titles – the last of which they won in 2014. Last season, they made it to the Playoffs before being eliminated by eventual champions Sunrisers Hyderabad. The Gautam Gambhir-led side will miss the highly-impactful Andre Russell this season, but have been reinforced with the signing of Kiwi all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme. KKR have stuck to the tried and tested batting line-up, and have made exciting additions to their bowling line-up; the English all-rounder Chris Woakes and Trent Boult were the noteworthy purchases at the IPL Player Auction.
07 April 2017, 2000 Hrs IST
SCA Stadium, Rajkot
The Gujarat Lions have an explosive batting line-up; in Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Suresh Raina and Dwayne Smith, GL has batsmen capable of demolishing opposition single-handedly.
KKR have historically relied on their openers to get them off to a sound – if not explosive – start so the middle order then build on that platform. The franchise have used one opening pair – Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa – across the last two seasons, and it is expected they will begin with the same pair this season too.
Match within the match
Brendon McCullum against Piyush Chawla promises to be an exciting contest; in the context of the IPL, the KKR leg-spinner has dismissed the Kiwi batsman on four occasions – conceding only 24 runs in the 35 deliveries he has bowled to him.
Head to Head
Matches – 2, Gujarat Lions won – 2, Kolkata Knight Riders won - 0
Suresh Raina needs 13 more runs to surpass ViratKohli’s aggregate of 4098 runs and once again become the highest run-getter in the IPL.
The KKR all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme boasts of the highest batting strike-rate in T20 cricket; his career strike-rate in the 20-over format stands at 171.04.
Away fixtures await both GL and KKR after this; both teams will be seen in action next on April 9. While GL head to Hyderabad for their match against Sunrisers Hyderabad (4pm), KKR head to Mumbai for their game against Mumbai Indians (8pm).