IPL: Upbeat Gujarat aim to continue winning run (Preview)

Rajkot, April 30 (IANS) Gujarat Lions will aim to continue their superb form in front of their home crowd when they take on Kings XI Punjab at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match here on Sunday.

The Lions have won six of the seven matches they have played so far and are at the top of the standings with 12 points. They will take further encouragement from the fact that they defeated Punjab by five wickets in their last match in Mohali.

Punjab on the other hand, are lying at the bottom of the table with only two points from six matches.

Gujarat have an explosive bating order spearheaded by openers Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith. McCullum has made 218 runs in seven matches while Smith, who replaced injured Australian Aaron Finch, has scored 148 runs in just three matches.

Gujarat captain Skipper Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik are also in good form. The only point of concern is the lower-middle order with all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo struggling with the bat. Bravo has scored only 52 runs in seven matches while Jadeja has made 42 in six. However, Australian all-rounder James Faulkner can be relied upon to come up with the big hits lower down the order.

The Gujarat bowling has also been effective with pacers Praveen Kumar and Dhawal Kulkarni in good form along with Faulkner. Jadeja and Bravo have also done well.

Punjab on the other hand, have been a disjointed outfit so far. Despite having a bunch of big names like Murali Vijay, Shaun Marsh, David miller and Glenn Maxwell, they have only won one game so far.

Openers Vijay and Manan Vohra have done well, scoring 143 and 161 respectively in six matches. But the rest of the batting line-up has been a disappointment. Shaun Marsh is the only consistent performer in the middle-order with 158 runs in five games.

The visitors have a strong bowling attack on paper including the likes of Australian veteran Mitchell Johnson and South African star Kyle Abott. But just like the batsmen, the bowlers are also yet to perform consistently.

The squads:

Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (captain), Sarabjit Ladda, Akshadeep Nath, Amit Mishra, Dwayne Bravo, Paras Dogra, Eklavya Dwivedi, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra jadeja, Shadab Jakati, Dinesh Karthik, Shivil Kaushik, Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar, Brendon McCullum, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaydev Shah, Umang Sharma, Dwayne Smith, Dale Styen, Pravin Tambe and Andrew Tye.

Kings XI Punjab: David Miller, Murali Vijay (captain), Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson, Kyle Abott, Farhaan Behardien, Wriddhiman Saha, Mohit Sharma, Gurukeerat Maan sinh, Manan Vohra, Sandeep Sharma, Shaun Marsh, Axar Patel, Rishi Dhawan, Marcus Stoinis, Swapnil singh, Shardul Thakur, Anureet Singh, KC Cariappa, Nikhil Naik, Arman Jaffar, Pradeep Shahu.

–IANS

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