Star Wars: Gautam Gambhir v Brendon McCullum

On Friday, the duel will be between these heavyweights, and decided by their exploits at the top of the order.

These seasoned openers are capable of delivering rapid starts and of winning matches for their sides single handedly. Both players have been consistent in their performances in the Indian Premier League season so far. While Kolkata Knight Riders’ middle order has repaired the rare top-order damage - a trait that has seen the team currently occupy top spot in the league - Gujarat Lions’ batting line-up has not supplemented McCullum’s efforts at the top.

However, the tides can turn quickly. On Friday, the duel will be between these heavyweights, and decided by their exploits at the top of the order. Gautam Gambhir has been experimenting with unexpected opening partners - among whom Sunil Narine provided a surprise - and may continue to surprise the opposition with yet another weird choice of player as his opening partner. Chris Lynn, Gambhir’s original partner, seems likely to continue to be out of action due to injury. Gambhir’s solid start on Friday could pave the way for his middle-order batsmen to sustain a momentum already gained, rather than engage in repair work.

With two half-centuries and a strike-rate of 146.10, McCullum has shone brightly amid the mediocrity around him (besides Suresh Raina). He may have to provide more than a solid start to arrest the slide Lions finds itself in, with a single win and four losses out of five games.