Match 23 IPL 2017 (2017-04-21) @ Kolkata (EG)
The Lions won both matches between these 2 teams last season. They played each other on Match 3 of IPL 2017. The Lions set what looked like a decent total of 183 off their 20 overs. KKR replied with an onslaught of 4s and 6s to knock the runs off in under 15 overs.
The Lions will be pleased that the chief destroyer that night is not player. Chris Lynn scored 93 off 41 balls but is currently out injured.
KKR have won their last 3 matches and must be full of confidence. They have a number of match winning batsmen in their team. When the top order failed in their match against Delhi Pandey and Yusuf Pathan did the job in the middle overs. Nathan Coulter-Nile has strengthened their bowling, leaving the team with no obvious weaknesses.
The Lions have a high quality batting line up including overseas starts to compliment Raina and Karthik. Their problem has been their bowling which has been expensive. Jadeja's return has not helped as he has gone for almost 11 an over in the matches he has played.
Eden Gardens favors batting second with 60% of the teams chasing here winning since 2014. KKR have won their 2 matches here this season. On one occasion they won batting first and the other batting second.
I have backed KKR to carry on their unbeaten home record. They are favorites for the match but still value over 1.8. They are currently 16 points ahead of the Lions on the Cricsq ratings and they have home advantage.
Gautam Gambhir has been the rock at the top of the KKR batting order this season. He has scored 196 runs at a strike rate of 142. After Chris Lynn's unfortunate injury KKR have tried Narine and de Grandhomme as his opening partner. Narine has 45 runs at 150. De Grandhomme only managed a single when he opened in the last match.
Robin Uthappa returned to form with 68 off 39 balls against the Sunrisers on Saturday. He has scored 102 runs so far this IPL. It may be time to move him back to open with Gambhir.
Manish Pandey have been exceptional for KKR batting in the middle order. He has scored 221 runs at a strike rate of 150. Yusuf Pathan was in good touch scoring 59 off 39 balls against Delhi. Suryakumar Yadav completes the middle order. He has only contributed 28 runs so far.
Chris Woakes has been disappointing only scoring 13 runs at a poor strike rate off 93 down the order. KKR will be hoping he can do better in pressure situations going forward.
KKR's spin bowlers have been very economical throughout the competition. Narine has taken 4 wickets and gone for just 5.6 an over. Kuldeep Yadav has also taken 4 wickets with an economy rate of 7.5 an over. Piyush Chawla has only played two matches and been more expensive at 9.9 an over.
KKR have the option of bringing in Shakib Al Hasan to bowl spin. He is one of the best all-rounders in the world and could replace de Grandhomme.
KKR have had a problem with the economy rate of their seam bowlers. Chris Woakes is KKR's top wicket taker on 6 but has gone at almost 10 an over. Umesh Yadav has 4 wickets but has also gone at 10 an over. The introduction of Nathan Coulter-Nile in their last match was a success. Replacing the expensive Trent Boult he took 3 for 22 off his 4 overs.
The Lion's batting is one of the strongest in the competition on paper. Brendon McCullum is their top runs scorer. He has 225 runs with a strike rate of 146. He played exceptionally against RCB on Tuesday. He kept them in the hunt chasing 213, with his 72 off 44 balls.
McCullum has been opening the batting with Dwayne Smith. Smith has scored 1 and 0 in the last 2 matches. It is time to bring in Jason Roy to open the batting instead. Roy has only has 2 chances at opening and is a top quality player.
Suresh Raina bats at 3. He has scored 159 runs with a strike rate of 135. Karthik has also been good in the middle order scoring 129 runs at 140.
Aaron Finch has been disappointing. He has scored only 70 runs in 4 innings. It is a choice between him, Smith and Faulkner as an overseas player. It may be time for the Lions to give Faulkner a game to strengthen the bowling.
Ishan Kishan has done well in his 2 matches. He has scored 50 runs at a strike rate of 167. The Lions tail is quite long with Jadeja batting at 7.
The Lions have used 12 bowlers in the 5 matches they have played. The selectors are finding it hard to find the right combination.
Their main spinners are Jadeja and Shivil Kaushik. They only have 1 wicket between them and have been very expensive. Jadeja has gone at an uncharacteristic 11 an over and Kaushik at 9.6 an over. Raina has gone at 11 an over when he has balled himself.
Andrew Tye was introduced into the side after the team lost their first two matches. He leads the seam attack with 7 wickets and a decent economy rate of 7.1 an over. Basil Thampi has bowled well. He has just taken the 1 wicket but has an economy rate of 8.2.
Praveen Kumar and Dhawal Kulkarni have both been expensive. Kumar has 3 wickets at 10.2 an over. Kulkarni has just 1 wickets with an economy rate of 11.3. Dwayne Smith has been targeted in the few overs he has bowled going at 12.4 an over.
The Lions need Jadeja to get back into form. With Bravo sidelined through injury they should consider bringing in Faulkner to strengthen the bowling.
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