Gujarat Lions is in a deep mess at the moment and the only thing that can help them leapfrog all the troubles is a win over Kolkata Knight Riders in the upcoming match on April 21st. Given the current form they are in, it will be tough for the current wooden spooners to defeat the versatile table toppers. Their recent losses have made the entire team look feeble. It’s not all over yet but they definitely standing on the verge of elimination.
Gujarat Lions were completely blown away when they last met the strong Kolkata Knight Riders. It was a decent batting display from Gujarat Lions after being asked to bat first by KKR. Suresh Raina led the charge with a wonderful 68 run innings while Karthik contributed an attacking 47 from just 25 balls. The duo’s effort saw Lion set a challenging 184 runs target.
However, there was a storm awaiting the Lions bowlers in the form of Chris Lynn and Gautam Gambhir. The pair took the target very lightly and blew it off in just 14.5 over while being unbeaten. Lynn smashed 93 from 43 balls and Gambhir hit 76 from 48 balls as KKR won the match by 10 wickets.
Unimpressive. Lions’ tally in the points table tells the story. Their previous encounter against RCB will bring some confidence despite the fact that it ended in a loss. However, they reached pretty close to the 200 runs mark chasing 2014 to win.
Only collective performances can yield consistent results. Lions desperately need their batting and bowling to co-ordinate. One department has definitely failed in the previous game, making the hard work put by the other department completely useless.
What is Raina thinking about the team combination? This question quickly arises in the mind whenever discussion related to Gujarat Lions woes unfold. Raina has to take some sweeping decision now. He has no option but to re-shuffle the parts of his team and hope for the best. Starting with Dwayne Smith, the opener, who has failed consistently to the spin attack, there is a lot of thinking to be done.
In the initial two games, Smith looked promising but has fizzled out since then. He has had enough chances with no fruitful results now. Aaron Finch, on the other hand, looked like a wasted commodity. Finchy is as good as Smith, if not better that Smith in the T20s as an opener. Using him in the middle order isn’t fair and there seems to be no harm in bringing him to the top as Brendon McCullum’s partner.
Another James Faulkner also remains under-utilised. The all-rounder has won matches single-handedly both as a bowler and as a lower order batsman. Bringing him in in the middle order will do wonders.
The bowling attack also needs some changes. The Eden Gardens’ pitch now has changed its face and has shown support for the pacers. Therefore, it will only good if the young Nathu Singh gets an opportunity. The Lions can cash in on his good form. He is well capable of replacing Dhawal Kulkarni in the side.
His inclusion makes the bowling attack beefed up in the presence of Thampi and Andrew Tye. Removing Shivil Kaushik and replacing him with the Jakati also seems very logical. Jakati may have been expensive in his previous last appearance against RPS but assures better result that the Karnataka spinner.
Here is the likely XI of Gujarat Lions:
Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina (C), Dinesh Kartik (WK), James Faulkner, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, Nathu Singh, Andrew Tye, Basil Thampi, Shadab Jakati