Gujarat Lions and Kings XI Punjab are in a serious need to play better cricket and move up the IPL 2017 table if they are to qualify for the Playoffs. Both teams will be eager to collect two points when Gujarat Lions will host Kings XI Punjab in Rajkot on Sunday.
The match should be a cracker, what with the number of world-class batsmen in both camps. The fans will be treated to a major spectacle as Gujarat Lions and Kings XI Punjab have the likes of Brendon McCullum and Glenn Maxwell in their line-up respectively.
Here is look at how the match could go
If GL bat first
McCullum is on fire, starts off with some handsome boundaries in the first over. The momentum is set for the Gujarat Lions, and McCullum along with Finch score 64 in the Powerplay.
They look solid in the middle, but Finch does not time the ball, and is caught in the deep, which brings Suresh Raina to the middle. With GL having a left and right combination, they seem to be enjoying the partnership. McCullum is playing aggressive cricket while Raina is happy with odd boundaries.
They reach 120 in the 13th over. Raina also opens up, but he is clean bowled in the 14th over, and it is double trouble as McCullum also goes back to the dugout in the same over. With Dinesh Karthik and Ishan Kishan at the crease, the former takes lead role and deals in boundaries but Ishan is struggling, and loses his wicket.
With 20 runs in the last two overs, Karthik and James Faulkner steer their team towards a huge total of 190 runs.
Manan Vohra fails to read the line of the ball. The opener is trapped leg before by Praveen Kumar. In walks Glenn Maxwell, who plays his shots from the word go. He looks dangerous, so does Hashim Amla. They are cruising towards the target as they score 59 in six overs.
Maxwell and Amla cannot find boundaries in the middle overs, and the pressure is getting to both the batsmen. Maxwell goes for a maximum, but fails to connect properly. He is back in the dugout. Shaun Marsh looks in ominous form, as he drills three fours in his first five balls. Marsh's cameo is brought to an end by Ravindra Jadeja.
With KXIP having scored 109 runs in 13 overs, they are in serious need for Amla to get going, but he is out in the 14th over, making the run-chase difficult. With pressure getting to them, Kings XI Punjab suffer a batting collapse. They get bundled out for 151 runs.
If KXIP bat first
Vohra and Amla start well, with some boundaries in the first six overs. Both players show their class scoring 49 runs in the first six overs. With the ball coming onto the bat easy, they are able to play some wonderful cricket.
Both openers are looking brilliant at the middle, and score 41 in the next four overs to provide their team a solid platform. However, they both lose their wicket in the 12th over, but they are well past 100 runs.
Marsh and Maxwell push the team total to 130 runs in the 15th over, and with five overs to go, they are looking towards a massive total. All of a sudden, Andrew Tye breaks the backbone of the KXIP batting line-up, and restricts the visitors to 175 runs in 20 overs.
GL have to start well, and boy, McCullum is in his fifth gear from the very first over. Finch is playing second fiddle, and the New Zealander is making a mockery of KXIP bowlers. No one is spared as the pair score 76 runs in the first six, which also includes McCullum's fifty.
They are well set for win, unless they suffer a batting collapse. GL just need 100 runs in the next 14 overs with ten wickets in hand.
14 overs? McCullum wants to finish in the next 7 overs. It seems one shot too many as the Kiwi is gone after scoring 70 runs. He has done his job.
Finch and Raina does not take many risks after MCCullum's wonderful batting, and they gradually inch closer to the target. With just 40 runs needed, Finch is gone, Raina and Karthik steer their team towards a victory in the 18th over.