IPL 2022: Misfiring Knight Riders brace up for terrific Titans

Captain Hardik Pandya to return for Gujarat Titans; Venkatesh Iyer and Ajinkya Rahane will look for form with the bat for seventh-placed Kolkata Knight Riders.

KKR's Shreyas Iyer and Aaron Finch during the contest against RR. The middle-order of both KKR and GT may have to do all the heavy lifting on Saturday. - BCCI/IPL

Table-topper Gujarat Titans (GT) will take on seventh-placed Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the D.Y. Patil Stadium here on Saturday.

Titans are riding-high on David Miller's heroics against Chennai Super Kings, while the Knight Riders are wounded after falling seven runs short in a tall chase against Rajasthan Royals despite fighting knocks from skipper Shreyas Iyer and Aaron Finch.

The return of captain Hardik Pandya, who missed the last match due to a groin injury, will lend much-needed reinforcement to the Titans middle-order with the team yet to settle on an opening partner for Shubman Gill, who is coming off a lean patch with 20 runs in the last three matches.

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The Knight Riders have their fair share of worries at the top of the order. While Finch's 28-ball 58 against Royals may have sealed one opening spot, Venkatesh Iyer and Ajinkya Rahane are yet to find their feet this season.

Titans arguably have the most well-rounded bowling attack in the tournament with Alzarri Joseph, who made his franchise debut against Super Kings, joining the ranks of Mohammed Shami and Lockie Ferguson. Thus, seeing off the Powerplay against GT will be key for a brittle KKR top order. Meanwhile, Umesh Yadav will need support to exploit GT's vulnerabilities against the new ball.

The middle-order of both sides may have to do the heavy lifting and a lot will depend on Shreyas and Hardik, who will have their task cut out against the likes of Rashid Khan, Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarty in the middle-overs.

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