Arguably the two sides that have looked the strongest this IPL season are Gujarat Lions and Kolkata Knight Riders – placed 1st and 2nd in the points table respectively and henceforth when these two took on each other in the 38th match of the tournament it ought to be an exciting encounter.

The toss went in favor of the Gujarat Lions who opted to bowl, making one change to their side in form of Tambe IN for Sangwan. KKR however stuck to their winning line up, making no change.

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Gujarat Lions
Date 08 May 2016
Venue Eden Gardens, Kolkata
158/4 (20)   164/5 (18)
Gujarat Lions won by 5 wickets

KKR are a side that has time and again had brilliant opening partnerships followed by a few inconsistencies at the top order and that’s expected in a tournament that lasts around a month and a half. Today was the day when the KKR’s top order collapsed and left the innings in tatters.

KKR were in deep trouble at 4-24 after the first 6 powerplay overs, requiring a formidable partnership to at least reach to a respectable score to set for the strong Gujarat Lions batsmen to chase.

The partnership came between Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan, with the latter having a very ordinary IPL season with the bat, managing the best score of only 11 prior to this match. Yusuf however led his side to a great victory with his match-winning knock against the Kings XI Punjab.

A partnership of 134 runs in 14 overs, which is approx. a run rate of 10 to the over got KKR not only back in the match but also helped them post up a total that is quite defendable on the low and slow track of Eden Gardens – the final total for KKR was 158; courtesy of Yusuf’s 63 in 41 and and 66 in 49 from Shakib.

In their chase, the Gujarat Lions had an opening stand of 42 between McCullum and Smith. The innings did hit back a little with fall of both the openers within the span of 20 runs but it was a well guided knock from Karthik – yet again putting up a strong show with the bat in the middle order, guiding his side to the victory.

A quick-fire 29 in 10 from Finch gave the innings the mighty blows required to complete the formality of winning the match, it was going to be relatively easy win anyways with 2 overs still in spare – in context of the tournament, this win puts Gujarat Lions in absolute surety of making it to the play-offs, with 7 wins to their name and 8 requiring to guarantee an assured spot in knockouts.

The concern for Gujarat Lions lies with their captain in Raina who has had a rather quite IPL by his standards but otherwise the opening duo followed by strong middle order including an in-form Karthik and Finch makes them a side to reckon with.

KKR given has had a very successful campaign but the weak point remains their heavy dependence on the opening duo of Gambhir and Uthappa – the middle order is struggling with Russell’s, Pandey’s and Surya Kumar’s inconsistency. Can they perhaps change things around with a few changes in their batting line up, perhaps also giving some thought to playing Narine instead of Hogg! Their bench strength does give them a few options to play around with for they require 2 more wins (currently 6) to make the playoffs.

KKR vs GL Squads for 08 May 2016 Match 38

Kolkata Knight Riders

Gautam Gambhir (C), Piyush Chawla, John Hastings, Brad Hogg, Jason Holder, Sheldon Jackson, Kuldeep Yadav, Chris Lynn, Manan Sharma, Morne Morkel, Colin Munro, Sunil Narine, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Ankit Rajpoot, Andre Russell, Rajagopal Sathish, Shakib Al Hasan, Jaydev Unadkat, Robin Uthappa (W), Suryakumar Yadav, Umesh Yadav

Gujarat Lions

Suresh Raina (C), Akshdeep Nath, Dwayne Bravo, Paras Dogra, Eklavya Dwivedi , James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, Dinesh Karthik (W), Shivil Kaushik, Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar, Sarabjit Ladda, A Mishra, Brendon McCullum, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaydev Shah, Umang Sharma, Dwayne Smith, Dale Steyn, Pravin Tambe, Andrew Tye

GL vs KKR Recap

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