Desperate Lions hope for Eden respite
Kolkata Knight Riders v Gujarat Lions
Kolkata, April 21, 2017 Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)
Head to head
This season: Kolkata Knight Riders thumped Gujarat Lions with 10 wickets and 31 balls to spare, chasing a target of 184.
Overall: Lions still lead 2-1
In the news
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.
Lions are so badly reeling from the absence of Dwayne Bravo that they have tried all but one of their 14 players with international caps. The West Indian allrounder said he was still a "couple of games" away from fully recovering from a hamstring injury so his team has to find a way to cope.
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
- There is evidence to suggest Andrew Tye should try bowling more often in the Powerplay. He has given up only one boundary from 18 deliveries in this phase at the IPL. In his last T20 tournament as well - the Big Bash League - he had an economy rate of 4.66 in the first six overs.
- Left-arm spin could be a very useful weapon to have in this match. Brendon McCullum has been dismissed by it 20 times - the most among all IPL batsmen - closely followed by Robin Uthappa on 19. Dinesh Karthik and Manish Pandey have also suffered, with 15 and 14 dismissals respectively. All of these batsmen, barring Karthik, hit left-arm spin at a strike-rate under 115. So could there be a case for Shakib to be drafted in for KKR? Could Jadeja hope to bounce back from his worst IPL figures in the last match?
Stats that matter
- Knight Riders have made a conscious move to be more attacking in the Powerplay. Their average run rate in the first six overs has been 9.90 - the highest among all teams this season. In 2016, the corresponding number was 7.96
- The captain appears fully committed to this plan. Gautam Gambhir hit a boundary every 6.9 balls on average in the Powerplay last year, but in 2017, he smacks them every 3.6 balls. His strike-rate during this stage of the innings is 148.75, a significant rise from the 110.94 in 2016.
- Lions' bowlers appear ripe for the picking as well. They have taken only four wickets in the Powerplay in IPL 2017. One of their best sources for early strikes, Dhawal Kulkarni, has had an awful time. He took 14 wickets in the first six overs in 2016 - the highest among all bowlers. In 2017, he is yet to pick up one in the Powerplays and has instead recorded his worst economy rate in this phase of the innings across nine years - 10.20.
- Manish Pandey, who is among the top-five run-scorers this year, has only made one run from two innings against Lions. He averages 0.5 against them.
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo