Gujarat Lions will be hoping to go level with Delhi Daredevils on four points with a victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 20th match of IPL 2017. After getting off the mark against Rising Pune Supergiant, they lost a close game against Mumbai Indians and will be looking to bounce back at home. Despite having a fully-fit Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, RCB have struggled in the batting department and the Lions will be looking to capitalize on that in the battle between the bottom two teams in the tournament so far.
In the 20th match of IPL 2017, Gujarat Lions take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in Rajkot. Here is the possible playing XI for the Lions –
Dwayne Smith might not have been the all-rounder the Lions were looking for in DJ Bravo's absence but he has shown just why he is one of the side’s finest openers. His partnership with Brendon McCullum will be crucial against RCB.
Brendon McCullum is averaging nearly 40 in IPL 2017 and has provided the Lions with the perfect start. With the batting not as deep as they would have liked in the absence of two key all-rounders in Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja, the former Kiwi captain’s form has been integral to the side’s chances of victory.
Suresh Raina may not have had a great preparation in the build-up to IPL 2017 but the southpaw has shown it is not always the preparation but the performance on the field that counts. With an average of 68 in the tournament, he has been in sublime form and he will be looking to continue that against RCB whose bowlers have struggled, apart from Samuel Badree.
Aaron Finch to replace Jason Roy. After the lost kitbag fiasco ahead of the game against Mumbai Indians, the Lions will be eager to bring back an in-form Finch back into the side. With more experience of playing in the middle-order and as the best player of spin among the overseas openers the Lions have, Finch should take to the field at Rajkot ahead of Roy.
Dinesh Karthik will be hoping that the selectors take note of his performance both in the domestic circuit and so far in the IPL as well as he has been simply sublime. Two forties and a thirty in his four matches are phenomenal numbers for someone who doesn’t bat in the top four.
Ishan Kishan didn’t have much to do against Pune and didn’t impress when he got his chance against MI but the flexibility that he affords and the form that he has been in during the domestic season should give him a longer rope. In a top-heavy batting line-up, he adds explosive hitting and also provides invaluable Indian option in the middle-order.
Ravindra Jadeja may have picked up a wicket in two games in IPL 2017 but his performance will be crucial against RCB. Given AB’s struggles against left-arm spin, it should come as no surprise if the all-rounder comes in, to bowl earlier. He will also be looking to provide more balance to the side with his lower-order hitting and lift the poor form of the Lions’ spinners so far.
Basil Thampy has been highly regarded inside the Lions’ set-up and against Mumbai he showed why, with his impressive pace and control that he provides with the ball. He is also a big-hitter lower down the order and he will be looking to make an impact with both bat and ball against RCB.
Shadab Jakati to replace Munaf Patel. Having been dropped in favor of Munaf Patel due to the nature of surface at the Wankhede, don’t be surprised if the experienced left-arm spinner makes it back into the side. The fact that AB doesn't have a great record against left-arm spinners might help his cause, as will the fact that Munaf wasn’t as good on his comeback and the Lions might need more control against RCB.
Praveen Kumar may not have been as consistent as he would have liked so far in IPL 2017 but the fact that RCB’s top order have continuously struggled against quality swing bowling means that he will play against RCB. Kohli is undoubtedly the best batsman in the world at the moment and his struggles against swing have been well-documented and Praveen will be looking to take advantage of that.
Andrew Tye might have only played two IPL games so far but he has already made such a huge impact that the Lions can’t afford to drop him, even if Dwayne Bravo is on the verge of full fitness. Seven wickets in two matches is a great return for the Australian bowler who has continued to confuse batsmen with his variety at the death and his knuckle ball as well.