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IPL 2017, Match 3: Gujarat vs Kolkata

Wisden India logo Wisden India 06-04-2017 Wisden India staff

The Gujarat Lions will expect their experienced and fearsome top order to neutralise Kolkata Knight Riders' lethal bowling unit when the two sides open their campaign on Friday (April 7) at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot.

Gujarat won six of their first seven games last season before going on to lose six of their remaining nine, including both Qualifier 1 and 2. The team once again looks intimidating in the batting department with the likes of Dwayne Smith, Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, the skipper, and the newly bought Jason Roy.

Full coverage: IPL 2017

The area of concern for Gujarat, at least in the initial stage of the tournament, will be the non-availability of their star allrounders Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo. While the No. 1 Test bowler has been recommended at least two weeks' rest to recover from soreness after India’s 13-match home season, Bravo, the two-time purple cap winner, will miss out for the first few games due to a hamstring injury that occurred during the 2016-17 Big Bash League.

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Till Jadeja makes his return, the team looks extremely weak in the spin department and will have to rely on the services of Shivil Kaushik, Shadab Jakati or Tejas Baroka, the Delhi legspinner, to come good against Kolkata. Meanwhile, Gautam Gambhir's two-time IPL winning side will be without Andre Russell and will expect Colin de Grandhomme or Rovman Powell, the 23-year-old fellow Jamaican, to fill the gap.

IPL records: Highest run-getters in previous seasons

IPL Records: Highest run-getters in previous seasons: Virat Kohli is on a rampage this IPL season. He has spared no bowling attack. The Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper has scored three IPL tons in 2016 edition en route becoming the highest run-getter this season. Kohli has scored 752 runs so far. The runs tally is a record in itself for any batsman. He has surpassed his teammate Chris Gayle who socred 733 runs in 2012 and Mike Hussey who also scored the same amount of runs in 2013. He has two more games left in the league stage. (Source: BCCI) IPL records: Highest run-getters in previous seasons

While either of Trent Boult or Chris Woakes are expected to lead the visiting side’s pace attack in the absence of Umesh Yadav, the spin duties will probably be spearheaded by Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine. The core of the batting line-up hasn't changed too much, with Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey and Chris Lynn forming a formidable top four and the onus on Suryakumar Yadav, Yusuf Pathan and the rest to provide some late fireworks.

Head-to-head record of the teams involved:

Matches played: 2, Gujarat won: 2, Kolkata won: 0

This will be the first time that these two sides meet at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.

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