After having been on the wrong side of the super over against the Mumbai Indians, Gujarat Lions now lock horns with the Rising Pune Supergiant who are finally getting some momentum back in their campaign and are now in with a serious shout to qualify for the playoffs.
The Suresh Raina-led side too is in the midst of a purple patch and would want to quickly shrug aside the gut-wrenching defeat against the Mumbai Indians in the super over. They are up against Rising Pune Supergiant and the top 4 places are up for grabs.
Here is the predicted XI for the Gujarat side as they face off against Steve Smith’s Rising Pune Supergiant.
The young Jharkhand southpaw got a promotion to open the batting after languishing at number 7 in the initial part of the season and has looked the part at the top of the order. He has the ability to pierce gaps in the powerplay and also can play the pick up the stroke perfectly.
The strapping Kiwi has been in decent touch so far this season but has slipped away in the recent past. However, now as the tournament is entering its business phase the experienced player has to step up and give Gujarat a boisterous start at the top of the order.
Captain Raina is amongst the runs and this is a huge boost for the team and an in-form Raina will only bolster the chances of the Gujarat Lions. He walks in at number 3 and has the game and ability to control the game all through and can be a real dasher towards the end of the innings.
The burly Victorian has been given the number 4 position in the team and he has adapted quite well to the new role. He continues to play his strokes even in the middle order which has allowed other batsmen to play all around him.
Finch has been very aggressive against the spinners and this has posed a lot of headache to the opposition captain.
The experienced Tamil Nadu batsman had a glittering start to the campaign and looked to be a man in prime form. However, as the season has gone on, his form has waned off a touch, but he would know more than anyone else that the time is ripe for him to step up and churn out runs for his team.
This has not been a very good season for the West Indian and had to be benched midway through the tournament. However, Andrew Tye has been ruled out of the tournament with a shoulder injury and this could present another opportunity to Smith as he can also chip in with a couple of overs in the middle overs. Also, if he finds his touch, he could well be a match-winner on any day.
Jadeja has been decent with the ball and has managed to pick up wickets, but has underperformed with the bat and this has not had a positive bearing on the team so far.
Being one of the senior members of the side, Jadeja needs to the finisher in the team as he has the strokes and experience to be the X-factor.
Irfan got the first game this season as he made his debut for the Gujarat Lions and looked to be on the money with the ball. In the absence of Andrew Tye, Irfan has to call on all his experience and control the game right through the middle phase of the innings.
Also, he has worked on his batting and can unleash big strokes towards the end and a firing Irfan adds an extra dimension to the Lions.
The Australian has been a good addition to the Lions and has impressed one and all with his variations and skills.
His knuckleballs have been difficult to pick and Raina would now hope that he belts a few lower down the order with the bat too.
The young seamer has been one of the finds this season and his ability to nail the yorkers towards the death overs has stood out. He has also displayed a calm head and an unflappable temperament which holds him in good stead when the going gets a tad tricky.
The left arm spinner has not got enough chances this season but now when the business gets little tricky, he could be given a game considering the fact that he has the experience to handle crunch situations.