No ifs, no buts. Gujarat Lions have to find their rhythm in IPL 2017 as they are set to face in-form Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Friday.
The Gujarat Lions have struggled, with bowlers being under bar, and are missing world-class pacers and spinner in their ranks. However, their batting seems to be doing okay.
The KKR, on the other hand, have no problems in their squad. The batsmen and bowlers are delivering the goods, helping them win matches with ease. Someone or the other is coming up with brilliant cricket to steer their team to victory, which is a characteristic of a champion side.
Here is a look at how the match in Kolkata could go
If KKR bat first
Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa start cautiously, for the first couple of overs to read the conditions. They score decent 44 runs in the first six overs without losing any wicket. The duo try to accelerate and starts to deal in boundaries, but Gambhir is gone in the 11th over.
They promote Yusuf Pathan up the order, and the right-hander goes berserk from the first ball itself, hitting two sixes in his first four balls. He tries to do the same in the next over, but thick edges the ball to third man. KKR score reads 101 in 13th over.
All eyes are on settled Uthappa as the player clears his front leg and smacks the ball to the cow corner. New man Manish Pandey copies him, and just manages to clear the fence. They are on acceleration mode, but they lose both the wickets in the 16th over.
With four overs to go, Shakib Al Hasan and Suryakumar Yadav power KKR to 170 runs in 20 overs.
Brendon McCullum and Jason Roy seem to be in dangerous mood, scoring runs all around the park. Their 50 runs come in the 29th ball of their innings, but Roy is gone in the sixth over. They are on track for a win. Suresh Raina belts a few short pitch balls towards the boundary, and McCullum continues his onslaught.
The camera pans towards KKR skipper, and Gambhir is bamboozled. His face says it all. The two GL players continue their batting exploit and reach their 100 runs in the 11th over. McCullum completes another IPL fifty, and he is not done yet as he has an eye on the net run rate. One shot too many, as he is caught in the deep for 67 runs.
However, Raina and Aaron Finch with some good cricket minus risks see GL home with 18 balls to spare.
If GL bat first
McCullum, Lions' in-form star, unleashes his shots, and Roy also joins to power his team to 70 runs in the first six overs. McCullum loses his wicket in the eight over after some early damage. Roy and Raina look strong in the middle, playing the KKR bowlers with ease.
With Roy and Raina going strong, even 200 runs looks possible, but the duo lose their wickets in quick succession, and Finch also loses his wicket in the 15th over. 200 runs looks a difficult task, after losing three big men in a span of three overs.
However, Jadeja and Ishan Kishan perform decently to steer their team to 178 runs.
KKR openers start well, scoring runs in boundaries. Uthappa takes lead role, and Gambhir is trying to give the strike to the former, who is striking the ball clean. They score 60 runs in the first six overs.
The two seem to be in absolute control of the match, but Andre Tye is introduced and his knuckle ball gets both the openers out. There is a spring in GL step with those wickets, but it does not last long as Manish Pandey plays the big shots to get rid of the pressure, if any.
Pandey and Pathan are finding it easy, and they help inch KKR closer to the target. Though Pathan is gone, Shakib and Pandey cross the finishing line in the 19th over of the match.