Kolkata Knight Riders won their last clash in the tournament against Chennai Super Kings © IANS
Kolkata Knight Riders won their last clash in the tournament against Chennai Super Kings © IANS (File photo)

By Amit Banerjee

Sep 20, 2014

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Lahore Lions (LL) face off in the seventh encounter of the ongoing Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) 2014 tournament at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday.

While KKR head into the second game of the ongoing tournament after registering a memorable win against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the first after the end of the qualifying round, the Lahore Lions will look to begin the group stage on a good note after a spirited performance in the qualifiers.

KKR, who emerged winners of this year’s edition of the Indian Premier League after defeating Kings XI Punjab in the final, started off the tournament on a thrilling note by defeating MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings by three wickets courtesy a power-packed innings of 58 runs off 25 balls by Andre Russell. KKR had lost five wickets for a mere 51 runs while chasing a target of 158 runs. It was the middle-order duo of Ryan ten Doeschate and Russell that helped add 80 runs for the sixth wicket.

Lahore Lions, on the other hand, have put up an impressive display in the tournament so far. Having won this year’s edition of the Haier T20 Cup, the Lahores managed to stun everyone by beating tournament favourites Mumbai Indians by a margin of six wickets. After that win, they produced a disastrous performance against the Northern Knights, where they were dismissed for a total of 98 runs while chasing a target of 171.

They finally defeated Sri Lankan T20 champions Southern Express in a one-sided contest wherein they shot out the opponents for 109 to win by 55 runs and qualify for the Group stage by finishing second in the group.

While a major strength of the Lahore Lions will be their consistent performance in the bowling department in the given conditions, especially medium-pacer Aizaz Cheema who is has had picked eight wickets in the tournament so far, skipper Mohammad Hafeez would also want his bowlers to prevent any mishaps such as the one against the Northern Knights. This all the more justified given that KKR boast of spinners such as Sunil Narine in their ranks.

KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir will hope for the top-order to fire in a bid to reduce the burden on the middle-order, which looks in spanking form at the moment. A win for Kolkata would seal them a spot in the semis.

Squads:

Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (c), Yusuf Pathan, Robin Uthappa (wk), Piyush Chawla, Ranganath Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Kuldeep  Yadav, Sunil Narine, Jacques Kallis, Ryan Ten Doeschate, Manvinder Bisla (wk), Patrick Cummins, Andre Russell.

Lahore Lions: Mohammad Hafeez (c), Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Siddique Khan, Mohammad Umar Akmal (wk), Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Salman Ali, Asif Raza, Mohammad Mustafa Iqbal, Wahab Riaz, Aizaz Cheema, Imran Ali, Saad Naseem, Adnan Rasool, Mohammad Saeed, Ali Manzoor.

Time: 14:30 GMT I 20:00 IST

Complete coverage of Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 here

(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, traveling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)