Transfers made – 1; Transfers remaining – 27
David Warner out – Virat Kohli in
(uncapped) Manan Vohra out – Shardul Thakur/ Washington Sundar in
Uncapped player order: 1. Rahul Tripathi 2. Shardul Thakur 3. Washington Sundar
Captain – Virat Kohli
Royal Challengers Bangalore have tried everything they possibly could have, but it just doesn’t seem to be working out for them this season. With Ben Stokes still unfit to take the field, there is not much Rising Pune Supergiant can do with their team either. So, despite both the teams’ struggling campaigns, I don’t expect a lot of changes this match.
Tymal Mills, fully recovered now, is likely to get back in for Travis Head, while Faf du Plessis could get dropped for Lockie Ferguson, given how badly Rising Pune were in need of a wicket-taking option against Kolkata Knight Riders in their last match. Ferguson’s extra pace is something that could come in handy against Chris Gayle, and even against Virat Kohli, who has looked far off from his usual self this year.
While it is true that the RCB top order hasn’t really played to its potential so far, this is not the match you would want to bet against them, especially if Ferguson doesn’t play. The deck at Pune has been good for batting, and I wouldn’t be surprised even if Gayle comes good today.
From RPS, Steve Smith is easily the standout option. Since I am not going to captain him, I choose to leave him out. MS Dhoni looks good as well, with only Mills to negate at the death, but there is no point in getting him in right now with the team taking a 4-match break after today. Also, if Du Plessis plays there is a possibility that he could interfere with Dhoni’s position.
Ajinkya Rahane has been getting better in the last couple of matches, but that he still can’t reach a fifty which tells you why it isn’t worth backing him. Rahul Tripathi is, at best, a cameo player, and with him being uncapped, there should anyway be no problem getting him in.
As far as bowlers are concerned, Mills looks the best option from either side, as Samuel Badree bowls his full quota in the first 12, while a middle order of Smith, Dhoni and Manoj Tiwary is too good to gift wickets to Yuzvendra Chahal, unless they chase and are under a massive RRR pressure. Imran Tahir should easily be negated by the Royal Challengers batting unit.
Gujarat Lions vs Mumbai Indians
Transfers made – 2; Transfers remaining – 25
Virat Kohli out – Rohit Sharma in
AB de Villiers out – Brendon McCullum in
(Uncapped) Rahul Tripathi out – Krunal Pandya in
Uncapped order: 1. Nitish Rana 2. Krunal Pandya 3. Basil Thampi 4. Ishan Kishan 5. Nathu Singh
With Rohit Sharma finding form, Jos Buttler struggling to put runs on the board again, Mumbai Indians losing the last match, and Gujarat Lions throwing a surprise package by pushing Ishan Kishan up the order, there are quite a few on-the-spot decisions that you need to make in this match based on the playing XIs.
Mumbai Indians have shown an incredible amount of trust on Buttler, but even they would be starting to get frustrated now with the lack of returns from him: it has nearly been two seasons and he has only one half-century to his name. To blindly back a player who is not going to be with you during the knockouts doesn't make much sense: they either need to demote him and push Rohit back up or swap him for Lendl Simmons, who has a very good track record in IPL.
It is going to be a tricky decision between the overseas opener and Rohit, but I am siding with Rohit here as it is a safer option and there are good chances that he might get promoted ahead of Rana after the innings he played against Rising Pune Supergiants. Also, Gujarat have improved their bowling unit now by playing two overseas pacers, and with both Basil Thampi and Nathu Singh showing some promise, it shouldn’t be a big issue for them to get a couple of early wickets.
Coming to the Gujarat batting unit, this will be one of the tougher matches for Brendon McCullum in the tournament, with the kind of bowling attack that Mumbai have, but given how good he has been at Rajkot, I don’t see a reason to not have him in the team.
While I have managed to carry Suresh Raina around, I don’t really expect him to fare well today – the Mumbai pace trio will do all that they can to try and bounce him out. It doesn't help that Harbhajan Singh also has a good track against him in the IPL.
I would have been tempted to bring Aaron Finch in if he is opening the innings, but not so much when he is batting in the middle order. Andrew Tye could again get a couple of wickets, but I don't believe in bringing in bowlers from the weaker side, as the team performance could directly affect the kind of impact he can have on the match.