Gujarat Lions (GL) and Kings XI Punjab have not been able to play consistent cricket in IPL 2017. As a result, they are in the lower half of the table, with four points each and will need to play better cricket as they look for victory when they face one another in Rajkot on Sunday, April 23.
Gujarat Lions will come into this match with immense confidence after beating one of the best teams of the competition so far, Kolkata Knight Riders. Though Gujarat Lions might have been eager to keep a winning combination, they could make some changes.
Dwayne Smith, after his failure with the bat and ball in his last three matches, could give way to Andrew Tye, who has been one of the best bowlers for GL, but was surprisingly left out in their last match. Tye will strengthen their bowling department, which has been a big concern for the GL this season.
James Faulkner should retain his place in the playing XI, and can play an important role as an all-rounder.
With a strong batting line-up comprising Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik, the GL do not have much to worry. These four players will have to do the bulk of scoring for theLions against Kings XI Punjab, who are hungry for a victory after having suffered four straight losses.
The Kings might have started well, with two straight victories, but things fell apart ever since. They are yet to find their best mix of players, which can help them play consistent cricket. Manan Vohra missed the Kings' last match, and the opener should walk into the playing XI on Sunday.
However, they need to get their foreign players sorted out. Shaun Marsh opened the innings in their last match. Either the left-hander or all-rounder Marcus Stoinis could have to sit out and allow David Miller another game, though the South African has failed to impress in this IPL so far. However, on his day, Miller can win the match single-handedly.
With bowlers like Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma as pacers in their unit, it would be wise for the thinktank to leave Stoinis out and keep Marsh to bolster the batting order. Marsh can bat at number three.
Both the teams are set to make some changes in their playing XI, but irrespective of who starts for the Lions and KXIP, they will have to be consistent for 40 overs to end up on the winning side.
Expected playing XI
Gujarat Lions: Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Suresh Raina (c), Dinesh Karthik, Ishan Kishan, James Faulkner, Ravindra Jadeja, Praveen Kumar, Andrew Tye, Dhawal Kulkarni, Basil Thampi
Kings XI Punjab: Hashim Amla, Manan Vohra, Shaun Marsh, David Miller, Wriddhiman Saha, Glenn Maxwell (C), Gurkeerat Singh, Axar Patel, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma, Ishant Sharma.