Glenn Maxwell’s Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will take on hosts, Suresh Raina’s Gujarat Lions (GL), in the first match of Sunday’s double-header of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017. To be played at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot, the match is crucial for both the teams as a victory in either camp will take them to the No. 4 spot in the IPL 10 points table. It is a battle of two equals: both teams have won 2 matches playing 6 matches each. However, KXIP are ahead in net run rate, and are at No. 6 in the points table while GL are currently at the bottom of the table. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Gujarat Lions (GL) vs Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), IPL 2017, Match 26 at Rajkot
Known to be a paradise for spinners, the Rajkot ground is sure to give and edge to hosts GL. Local boy Ravindra Jadeja is a part of the team. Jadeja’s record at Rajkot has been fantastic, and his all-round skills will definitely come in handy. Another name is Andrew Tye, who impressed one and all with his 5-wicket-haul on IPL debut and might expect a place for the Saturday fixture. GL also have two other options in the spin departments, in Shadab Jakati and Shivil Kaushik. While Jakati has bowled decently despite limited opportunities, Kaushik has disappointed with his game. As for the pace attack, the experienced Praveen Kumar and James Faulkner are almost sure to make it to the starting XI, while Basil Thampi has been impressive with his ability to bowl yorkers with ease. Raina may give Nathu Singh a try ahead of Dhawal Kulkarni.
KXIP have been over-dependent upon their pacers as far as bowling is concerned. They have only one specialist quality spinner in Akshar Patel. Swapnil Singh’s performance has lacked consistency but he is expected to make it to the team for Saturday based on playing conditions; if need be, Maxwell will have to bowl the occasional over. The pace attack consists of Sandeep Sharma and Mohit Sharma, while they have a third option between Ishant Sharma and Varun Aaron, with Marcus Stoinis chipping in if needed. KC Cariappa may find a spot ahead of Gurkeerat Mann. IPL 2017: KXIP need to play as a team, says J Arun Kumar
The GL camp is full of quality hard-hitters. Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum and Raina have been at their usual best. Dinesh Karthik is in very good form. With Jadeja and Faulkner down the order for slog-hitting, the batting looks sorted.
KXIP have a lot of quality overseas batsmen. Unfortunately, they cannot accommodate all of them, as a result of which the batting looks weak. Hashim Amla has seldom disappointed at the top, while Maxwell will take charge of the middle-order. Names like Manan Vohra, Wriddhiman Saha, Stoinis and Akshar will have to be consistent with the bat. IPL 2017: GL had no choice but to win vs KKR, says Sitanshu Kotak
Gujarat Lions (GL): Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Praveen Kumar, Basil Thampi, Nathu Singh, Andrew Tye.
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP): Hashim Amla, Manan Vohra, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Glenn Maxwell (c), Marcus Stoinis, Akshar Patel, Mohit Sharma, KC Cariappa, Swapnil Singh, Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan.
The story so far: both teams have played 6 matches each and have won 2 of them. KXIP are ahead of GL due to net run rate.
Advantage: Home ground, a spinner-rich squad, a spin-friendly track — all speak in favour of GL. They are also coming off a victory against KKR. KXIP will really have to stretch themselves in order to win.
Gujarat Lions (GL): Suresh Raina (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Praveen Kumar, Manpreet Gony, Dhawal Kulkarni, Aaron Finch, Shadab Jakati, Jason Roy, Shivil Kaushik, Dwayne Bravo, Munaf Patel, Ravindra Jadeja, Jaydev Shah, Pradeep Sangwan, James Faulkner, Akshdeep Nath, Andrew Tye, Chirag Suri, Basil Thampi, Ishan Kishan, Nathu Singh, Shubham Agarwal, Tejas Baroka, Pratham Singh, Shelley Shaurya.
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP): Glenn Maxwell (c), Hashim Amla, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), David Miller, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma, Manan Vohra, Akshar Patel, Marcus Stoinis, T Natarajan, Swapnil Singh, Darren Sammy, Shaun Marsh, Eoin Morgan, Ishant Sharma, Martin Guptill, Anureet Singh, Varun Aaron, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Matt Henry, Nikhil Naik, Rahul Tewatia, KC Cariappa, Pardeep Sahu, Rinku Singh, Armaan Jaffer.
TIME: 16:00 IST | 10:30 GMT