Gujarat Lions will be hoping to forget their opening game of IPL 2017 as a bad dream. Although their batting, which has been their strong suit clicked, courtesy of an unbeaten fifty from Suresh Raina and a 25-ball 47 from in-form Dinesh Karthik, Chris Lynn and Gautam Gambhir put on a record opening partnership for Kolkata Knight Riders as they thrashed the Lions by 10 wickets.
In the 6th match of IPL 2017, Gujarat Lions take on Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. Here is the possible playing XI for the Lions -
Jason Roy might have a seemed like a surprise buy for Gujarat Lions when they already had three international openers in their side but his exploits in the opener against KKR showed that he isn’t there just to make up the numbers. Although he didn’t get a big score, he scored three boundaries in his 13 which just shows how explosive he is.
Brendon McCullum has not been in great form in the lead-up to the IPL and there were some questions as to whether he would be the right choice to open for the Lions. Of all their foreign players, he looked the most at ease, scoring 35 and will retain his place in the side against a pace-heavy SRH attack.
Suresh Raina has been criticized in the lead up to IPL 2017 for not having his head in the game but he was backed by his owner and against KKR, not only did he bring up his 29th IPL fifty and go third in that list but also became the leading run-getter in the tournament. He will hope to keep that run going against SRH.
Aaron Finch may also retain his place in the side because of his flexibility and the fact that of all the foreign batsmen, he is the best player of spin. Although SRH don’t have a spin-heavy bowling line-up, they will use spinners against the top-order and that will likely save Finch from the axe.
Dinesh Karthik is another player who shouldn’t worry about his place in the side. Despite being the in-form batsman in the side, he came in at No.5 and still had enough time to prove his worth as he scored a 25-ball 47 to help his side post a big total. He will be looking to come in earlier against SRH to make even more of an impact.
James Faulkner in place of Dwayne Smith. Despite opening for the majority of his T20 career, Dwayne Smith was used an all-rounder by Gujarat Lions and he didn't get to bat and was thrashed during his solitary over by Chris Lynn. With Faulkner providing a better option with the ball, an area in which they struggled against KKR, expect him to play against SRH.
Basil Thampy to replace Manpreet Gony. Thampy has been one youngster who has dominated the headlines in the domestic circuit for his ability to bowl fast and also provide some lower-order runs with the bat. With the experienced Gony struggling in the first game due to his lack of pace, Thampy might be the man for the job with his ability to bowl fast.
Shivil Kaushik might have been hit for a few runs by both Lynn and Gambhir but he provides the x-factor for the Lions with his awkward action. He has the faith from the owner and the staff and is unlikely to be dropped after just one game.
Shadab Jakati may not have the x-factor that Kaushik does but he does provide stability and a wicket-taking option with his slow left-arm spin. The lack of quality alternatives and his experience is likely to keep Jakati in the side.
Praveen Kumar was the only Gujarat Lions bowler to have a run rate of under 10 in their opening game against KKR. He will keep his place not only because of his experience but also his ability to swing the ball which will come in handy at Hyderabad.
Dhawal Kulkarni might have gone for 42 runs in just 17 balls against KKR but he was the Lions’ leading wicket-taker in IPL 2017 and one bad game won't affect him a great deal. He will take the new ball once again and the bit of swing that he will get in Hyderabad will only help him get back into form.