Rajkot, April 23 (IANS) Gujarat Lions will aim to bounce back from Thursday’s 10-wicket thrashing when they face Royal Challengers Bangalore in an Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Sunday.
Sunrisers Hyderabad halted Gujarat’s three-match winning run with a crushing win in which they completely outplayed the hosts.
And the Suresh Raina-led Gujarat Lions believe that was a poor day in the office and they need to come out all guns blazing against a RCB side that is coming off a confident triumph over Rising Pune Supergiants.
Despite the loss to Hyderabad, Gujarat are second in the league points table, while Bangalore are one place behind them with two wins from four games.
Gujarat failed to find a hero barring captain Suresh Raina, who scored 70 on that night. And with the left-hander’s knock, the management must be feeling relaxed as he ended a run of under-performance.
All eyes will be on in-form Australian opening batsman Aaron Finch, who has has scores of 74, 50 and 67 not out respectively in the three matches so far before a duck against Hyderabad.
His opening partner, retired New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum hasn’t really fire yet, barring a 49 against Pune and he will be keen to make an impact as West Indian Dwayne Smith is waiting for his chance.
Other batsmen in the team are wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthick and all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo and James Faulkner.
Gujarat’s bowling is also strong and has delivered keeping its reputations in tact, barring the Hyderabad game in which they failed to get rid of opening duo of David Warner and Shihar Dhawan.
Medium pacers Praveen Kumar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Dale Steyn, Bravo and Faulkner have been complemented well by spinners in the form of Shadab Jakati and Praveen Tambe.
However, they should expect another tough day as they will be up against a RCB side that is full of batting stars. Led by Indian superstar Virat Kohli, who is in his peak form having scored 75, 79, 33 and 80 in the past four matches, RCB boast of an envious line-up.
Even though West Indian power-hitter Chris Gayle is yet to return since leaving for the birth of a baby girl, AB de Villiers is there to entertain the Rajkot fans. The South African maestro is also in form, hitting 82, 55, 29 and 83 in the past four matches respectively.
If you get rid of Kohli and de Villiers, then there are Shane Watson, young Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh and Stuart Binny who are some of the cleanest hitters of the ball.
Watson’s medium pace bowling is raising enough suggestions that the 34-year-old Australian’s nternational retirement was premature as he has picked up six wickets with economical figures.
RCB will need medium pacers Harshal Patel and Kane Richardson to take early wickets, while spinners Iqbal Abdullah and Tabraiz Shamsi will look to contain the batsmen in the middle overs.
South Africa’s Chinaman bowler Shamsi, who replaced injured West Indian Samuel Badree in the squad, played his first match against Pune, picking a wicket for 36 runs. The 26-year-old will be looking to improve that show.