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Ipl 2017
Vivo IPL 2016: Match prediction – GL skipper Raina makes a comeback in crunch game against Kolkata Knight Riders
Match 51 of Vivo IPL 2016 takes place at the Green Park in Kanpur between the Gujarat Lions and the Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday.

It is utterly crucial for both these teams to gather two points in today's game and consolidate their place in the playoffs. Both KKR and RCB have 14 points each, but KKR are in a better position due to a healthier Net Run Rate.

In fact, even if Gujarat Lions win today's match but lose against Mumbai Indians on Saturday, they will still go out of the Playoffs owing to their NRR. All credit to their poor NRR goes to their defeat against RCB by 144 runs.

GL had made a rocking start to IPL 2016 by winning six of their first seven games, but somehow lost their way in the middle of the tournament and have won just one solitary game since then. The Gujarat Lions will be boosted in today's game with skipper Suresh Raina's return, who had been on a paternity leave for the birth of her first child.

KKR on the other hand like many other teams in this season of IPL have been consistently inconsistent. Out of their last three outings Kolkata Knight Riders have managed just one win at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, their home ground. KKR would like to win both their remaining games and qualify for the Playoffs rather than leaving their result at the mercy of other teams.

In a major jolt to KKR, their key player Andre Russell, who has scored 188 runs and taken 15 wickets will miss today's game due to injury.

Although both these teams are even stevens on current form and team combination, but I see Gujarat Lions as the most likely team to win today's game. Today's match should see a good opening partnership between Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith for the Lions. Earlier this IPL season, GL had beaten KKR in a match in Kolkata. 

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