As the fast paced tournament Indian Premier League is reached its half-way stage, Gujarat Lions side which has already picked bowling all-rounder Irfan Pathan as the replacement of injured Dwayne Bravo, who has been nursing hamstring injury, before winning their all-important game against rusty looking Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday (April 29) to march at the points table with a convincing seven-wicket win at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
Concurrently, the hosts are placed at the sixth position of the IPL points table with three wins under their belt in eight games.
In the last season, Lions’ were at number three following the remarkable performances from the players both with bat and a ball.
However, so far some individual performances were witnessed, but there didn’t seem any scrupulous effort from the Lions as a unit to leave significant impact on the points table in general.
With Suresh Raina as a skipper pulling something in one of the matches Lions played, the unit would be eyeing to go up the points ladder following the strong performances from their batsmen and bowlers respectively, as they would heavily really on their batting line-up.
The management would be looking forward to build up on a well balanced unit to find the momentum in winning couple of games.
Mumbai Indians thrashed Gujarat Lions by six wickets and three balls to spere at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. After batting first Lions set the target of 177 which was later chased down by Mumbai in 19.3 overs following the splendid knock from young batsman Nitish Rana.
However, in 2016 Gujarat Lions clinched the two matches by six wickets in Mumbai on April 16, and six wickets in Kanpur on May 21 and this time it won’t be that easy against a side which has claimed six wins out of their eight matches.
GL – L L W L L W L W
MI – L W W W W W W L
With the decent start being provided, Suresh Raina alongside Dinesh Karthik can knit the partnership like he did against Royal Challengers, in a bid to guide their team to decent total which could prove very helpful, as the tournament is already into its fourth week.
However, in their last game when Karthik scored 58 and Raina 32, the late-order faltered while chasing down 189 runs against Kings XI Punjab, as Lions were able to post 162 for seven in 20 overs.
Brendon McCullum has to fire it up alongside Aaron Finch if both would be happening to open the innings for Lions.
The huge cause of concern has been their inconsistency from the batsmen particularly inexperience in the bowling line-up that has dented the spirit of the relatively new comers during the ongoing season.
However, Andrew Tye has been revelation with the ball for them , who earned Man of the Match for his splendid bowling figures of three for twelve in four overs against Royal Challengers.
Interestingly, Irfan would definitely add the variety to the bowling department, but who might take couple of matches to get in some sort of a groove.
On the other side, the two-time champions Mumbai Indians has proved this year after shredding the tag of slow starters in the IPL leg and the management would be banking on the balanced unit to give their best in remainder of the matches.
Here’s the predicted XI of Gujarat Lions:
Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina (C), Dinesh Karthik (Wk), Ishan Kishan, James Faulkner, Ravindra Jadeja, Irfan Pathan, Basil Thampi, Andrew Tye and Shadab Jakati.