IPL 2017 Match 23 preview: Knight Riders seek to continue winning streak at home

Vivo IPL 2017

Match 23: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Gujarat Lions

Eden Gardens (Capacity 66,349)

Friday, April 21st, 2017

8:00pm IST

The Knight Riders, collectively as a team, have a batting average of 39.16 and a strike rate of 150.27 this season, both the highest in IPL so far. The Gujarat Lions are not far behind with an overall batting average of 33.08 and a strike rate of 140.65. Yet the Knight Riders have a win-loss record of 4-1, and the Lions have just the opposite record of 1-4. The difference is due to their bowling record: Gujarat bowlers have an average of 59 runs, while Kolkata bowlers are at 27.61. With such an inspiring bowling attack, the Gujarat Lions find themselves near the bottom of the table, whereas they finished the last season at the top.

Team Form

Kolkata Knight Riders: WWWLW

Gujarat Lions: LLWLL

Team News
The Knight Riders have a pretty well settled team and will likely not make any change to their winning combination. Shakib Al Hasan is yet to play for them this season, as their quota of overseas players is filled by Chris Woakes, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Colin de Grandhomme and Sunil Narine. The Knight Riders had a close shave against Delhi Daredevils in their last match, and they will be hoping for an easier match against the Lions.

Pitch and Weather Report
The Eden Gardens is a high scoring ground, with an average first innings score in the range of 165 runs. Both the previous matches on this ground saw first innings score of 170 or higher. Both of them were won by the home team as well. Historically, it has also favored the team batting second, so there is a good chance that whoever wins the toss will elect to field first. The temperature at the start of the match will be around 30 degrees, but it is going to be quite humid – the usual sweaty summer that one sees in Kolkata during this time of the year. There is also a small chance of rain during the course of this match.

Andrew Tye has been the lone bright spot in the Lions’ bowling line-up, which has otherwise been pretty disappointing this season. They have taken only 15 wickets so far, which is the fewest among all the IPL teams. Their batting attack has held up their end of the bargain so far, but without an improved bowling attack it will be difficult for them to come out of the lower half of the points table.

Teams (probable)

Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Gautam Gambhir (C), 2 Colin de Grandhomme, 3 Robin Uthappa (WK), 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Yusuf Pathan, 6 S Yadav, 7 Chris Woakes, 8 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Kuldeep Yadav, 11 Umesh Yadav.

Gujarat Lions: 1 Suresh Raina (C), 2 Brendon McCullum, 3 Dwayne Smith, 4 Aaron Finch, 5 Dinesh Karthik (WK), 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Ishan Kishan, 8 Andrew Tye, 9 Basil Thampi, 10 Dhawal Kulkarni, 11 Shadab Jakati

Match Prediction
The Knight Riders start as a favorite to win this match at their home ground. The Knight Riders have among the best batting attack in the tournament, and the Lions have one of the worst bowling attacks. Chances are ripe for a high scoring match, especially if Knight Riders bat first.