Following their 10-wicket loss to KKR a fortnight ago, Raina-led Gujarat will look for revenge when the two teams face off at Eden Gardens today
Gujarat Lions skipper Suresh Raina has a big task on hand. Pic/AFP
With four wins from five outings, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are perched on top of the league ladder while Gujarat Lions (GL), reeling under successive losses, languish on the lowest rung. Adding to the uneasiness before today's face-off is memories of a 10-wicket defeat to KKR from a fortnight ago.
If Suresh Raina and his men still believe that the clash at the Eden Gardens may well provide the turnaround they seek, blame it on the nature of the beast.
Magic of Twenty20
The appeal of T20 cricket is in its ability to instill dreams of defying odds, to whisper defiance into David's ears. Their respective journeys in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) so far, a study in contrast, makes the clash between KKR and the Lions akin to the one between David and Goliath, and the first weapon the visitors have to bring to the table is self-belief.
It's something KKR have in plenty after three back-to-back victories. Despite the demoralising defeat to Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede a couple of weeks ago, KKR have managed to look the most convincing team so far, and are flush from Monday's hard-fought victory over the Daredevils. The bowling unit, oozing variety and balance, is coming into its own, while the partnership in Delhi between Yusuf Pathan and Manish Pandey, which pulled the Knights out of a rut and set up victory, underlined depth and desire in batting.
"It was a crime that I couldn't be there till the end," said Pathan, reveling in a new role that has had reign in his instinctive all-out attack for a more controlled aggression.
The Lions have been repeatedly let down by their new-ball bowling, and it could prove a huge handicap against a team hell bent on making the most of the early overs. Later, even the likes of Ravindra Jadeja, so compelling for Team India, have failed to make an impression. Their batting line-up looks as good as any but hasn't quite delivered as a unit.
Time to make a statement
With Brendon McCullum coming into his own in the previous match, Suresh Raina giving glimpses of his destructive capabilities and the potential in the likes of Dinesh Karthik, Aaron Finch and Jadeja, they will be want to believe today is the day they finally made their statement.
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