April 7 (CRICKETNMORE) - Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders will take on Gujarat Lions at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Friday. This will the first match for both the teams in this years IPL.
Head to Head
The two teams have so far met twice and both times Gujarat Lions won the match.
Lions have a strong batting lineup with the likes of Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Aaron Finch, Suresh Raina, and Dinesh Karthik. All these five players have over 3000 runs in IPL. None of their rivals had more than three batsmen who aggregated 300 and above.
But on Friday, Lions will miss the services of West Indian T20 specialist allrounder Dwayne Bravo who is injured and the hero of recently concluded India-Australia series Ravindra Jadeja who is cooling his heels after a long Test season. The bowling is slightly weak point for the team. It will revolve arounf Australian fast bowler James Faulkner.
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Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata will miss all-rounder Andre Russell, who is currently serving out a one-year ban for a doping-code violation.New Zealand all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme replace Russell a few days back.
Kolkata team is looking well-balanced with the likes of England allrounder Chris Woakes and Kiwi pacer Trent Boult. The batting department is in the hands of Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey and vice-captain Suryakumar Kumar, the men in purple are expected to do well. Bangladesh All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will miss the opening match due to national team commitments in Sri Lanka.
The pace battery with in-form India pacer Umesh Yadav, Boult, Woakes and Powell among others, also looks better than previous seasons. Piyush Chawla will handle the spin department.
Overall, it remains to be seen which teams gets a better start to the 10th edition of the cash-rich league. For KKR, a win on the road will do their confidence a world of good.
Likely Playing XI:
Likely Playing XI:
Gujarat Lions: Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Aaron Finch, Suresh Raina (captain), Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Ishan Kishan, James Faulkner, Praveen Kumar, Shadab Jakati, Dhawal Kulkarni, Shivil Kaushik
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Robin Uthappa (wicketkeeper), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Rovman Powell, Chris Lynn, Chris Woakes, Kuldeep Yadav, Trent Boult, Piyush Chawla