Kolkata Knight Riders v Gujarat Lions, IPL 2017, Kolkata April 20, 2017

Desperate Lions hope for Eden respite

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Match facts

Kolkata Knight Riders v Gujarat Lions
Kolkata, April 21, 2017 Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)

Play 03:27
Chopra: Play Shakib; de Grandhomme not used properly

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

Strategy punt

  • 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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   cricfan7085189920 on April 22, 2017, 10:54 GMT

    Shakib should play at no.4 at the middle orders and no.6 at the death overs.I wish yusuf pathan improve in fielding.

  • SAYAN on April 21, 2017, 18:03 GMT

    Narine has conceded the same number of runs that he has scored in the match(42).

  • bhanuk7302721 on April 21, 2017, 14:16 GMT

    shakib al hussain is an overrated player..

  • R on April 21, 2017, 14:13 GMT

    Quite sure Shakib is going to play for KKR. You have a lot of right hand foriegn batters in the opposition. Similarly for Lions, Jadeja will be the key.

  • bazing3970331 on April 21, 2017, 14:07 GMT

    As a Bangladeshi fan I'd like to see Shakib come in possibly for Woakes, since CDG is usually an explosive batsman and a good pacer. But as a KKR fan as well, I'd keep Woakes in the XI since they already have spinners in Narine, Kuldeep, and Chawla (if he's selected over Umesh Yadav). The pace attack is already strong with NCN alone, but I'd bring in Umesh Yadav over Chawla. 2 primary pacers and 2 primary spinners and good support from the likes of Woakes, CDG, and Pathan. Good luck to both teams.

  • simonp3164620 on April 21, 2017, 13:33 GMT

    EMON_DAS ON APRIL 21, 2017, 12:51 GMT Also, what is with all the bd fans and the 'conspiracy theories'? If those theories were true, shouldnt SRH be dropping Warner, RCB be dropping ABD, PSG be dropping Steve Smith? Arent Australia, SA, NZ equal threat (or more) compared to bangladesh? So why would anyone even think of targeting bangladesh? Plz dont act as if IPL franchisees owe bd anything by hiring their players. They dont. They will play them if they suit their match strategies. If not, they will keep them as waterboys and bench warmers.

  • srihar1003981 on April 21, 2017, 13:23 GMT

    finch playing or not today??? plzzz tel me frnss

  • simonp3164620 on April 21, 2017, 13:23 GMT

    EMON_DAS ON APRIL 21, 2017, 12:46 GMT Do you really believe this stuff or are you just trolling??? The BD team is so great that Kohli wouldn't get a chance?? You really believe that?? I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. I thought of mentioning ranking difference between India and bd but why bother :D

    And yes, Woakes is better all-rounder than Shakib if your team strategy needs a batsman who can bowl fast medium. Shakib is a spinner and KKR already has good spinners like Narine, Chawla, Kuldeep. Shakib is a decent batsman who builds up the innings lower down the order but KKR already has Pandey, Pathan, Grandhomme(provided he doesnt open) etc. Shakib is preferable to Woakes if KKR need an extra spinner. If not, then Woakes is clearly better option. The only player I would like to see replaces is Surya Yadav. KKR has done well for itself so far without Shakib and if they need him, I am sure he will be in top XI. Till then, he can be a glorified bench warmer and a waterboy :)

  • Star on April 21, 2017, 13:14 GMT

    Even though Raina is arguably the best batsman in the history of IPL, he is better suited in the middle order compared to the likes of Finch, Kishan etc. So, it may be in the better interest of the team that he moves down the order. Raina is someone who is capable of hitting from the word go.

    The likes of Jakati and Kaushik hasn't done well, so they are better off playing an extra pacer in Nathu Singh, who's got the extra pace.

    My XI: Baz, Smith, Finch, Raina, DK, Kishan, Jadeja, Tye, Basil, Kulkarni, Nathu.

  • CricMystique on April 21, 2017, 13:12 GMT

    Who cares who wins.........hope umesh yadav sits out the rest of the IPL so that he is fit and firing for the real cricket ahead....representing india....in the cricket that matters.....

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