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Shubman Gill's GT to face formidable KKR in must-win IPL game

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Gujarat Titans' captain Shubman Gill plays a shot during an Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 T20 cricket match between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings

Gujarat Titans' captain Shubman Gill plays a shot during an Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 T20 cricket match between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings

Ahmedabad: Shubman Gill's return to form will provide a big boost to Gujarat Titans as they square off against table-toppers Kolkata Knight Riders in their must-win IPL game here on Monday.

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Gill roared back into form with his fourth IPL hundred to keep GT's slim playoff hopes alive with a comfortable win against Chennai Super Kings at home in their last outing.

Gill and Sai Sudharsan's twin centuries were the cornerstone of the hosts' huge total and their role will be crucial once again as they face KKR, which has become the first team to qualify for the playoffs.

As many as seven teams are still in the race for the playoffs. While Rajasthan Royals (16) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (14) are well-placed at second and third position, three teams -- CSK, Delhi Capitals and Lucknow Super Giants -- are at 12 points each.

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GT and Royal Challengers Bengaluru are at 10 points and can reach a maximum of 14 points.

With a negative net run-rate, GT's chance are the least and it will take a miracle for the former champions to sneak into the top four.

However, one thing is clear, GT will once again have to play out of their skin and register big wins to keep their mathematical chances alive.

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GT's bowling has lacked teeth this season with the pacers inconsistent and spinners leaking runs. But the bowlers did manage to snap three CSK wickets in the first three overs in their last outing.

Mohit Sharma's variations and knuckle balls were effective and Rashid Khan's guile also stood out and they would hope for another good outing.

But it will again boil down to the top-order batting, which has failed to fire in the last few games before Gill and Sudharsan came up with sensational tons en route a record 210 opening stand.

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KKR, on the other hand, need just one win in their remaining two games to seal a top-two finish after they qualified for the playoffs with an 18-run win over Mumbai Indians in a rain-hit game last night.

Sunil Narine (461 runs & 15 wickets) has carried the team with his all-round brilliance, while fellow West Indian Andre Russell has been another impactful player with 222 runs and 15 wickets this season.

Leg spinner Varun Chakravarthy with 18 wickets in his kitty has been in a good rhythm. Phil Salt too has given the team sensational starts but has been off the boil a bit in the last three innings.

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Others such as Angkrish Raghuvanshi and Ramandeep Singh have also stepped up when needed as the two-time champions emerged as the most consistent team this season.

The venue has proved to be batter-friendly and has witnessed some high-scoring games.

GT has beaten KKR twice in the last three meetings but the hosts can't lower their guard as it was here where Rinku Singh had given them a nightmare when he slammed Yash Dayal for five successive sixes in the final over last year.

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Teams (from): Kolkata Knight Riders: Shreyas Iyer (c), KS Bharat (wk), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Rinku Singh, Angkrish Raghuvanshi, Sherfane Rutherford, Manish Pandey, Andre Russell, Nitish Rana, Venkatesh Iyer, Anukul Roy, Ramandeep Singh, Varun Chakravarthy, Sunil Narine, Vaibhav Arora, Chetan Sakariya, Harshit Rana, Suyash Sharma, Mitchell Starc, Dushmantha Chameera, Sakib Hussain, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Gus Atkinson, Allah Ghazanfar and Phil Salt.

Gujarat Titans: Shubman Gill (c), David Miller, Matthew Wade, Wriddhiman Saha, Kane Williamson, Abhinav Manohar, B. Sai Sudharsan, Darshan Nalkande, Vijay Shankar, Jayant Yadav, Rahul Tewatia, Noor Ahmad, Sai Kishore, Rashid Khan, Joshua Little, Mohit Sharma, Azmatullah Omarzai, Umesh Yadav, Shahrukh Khan, Sushant Mishra, Kartik Tyagi, Manav Suthar, Spencer Johnson, Sandeep Warrier and BR Sharath.

Match starts: 7.30pm.

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