Rajkot, April 13 (IANS) After impressive debuts in their respective Indian Premier League (IPL) matches, Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions will face-off at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Thursday.
Pune outclassed defending champions Mumbai Indians by nine wickets in the season opener while Gujarat defeated Kings XI Punjab by five wickets on Monday.
The two new franchises were added to the IPL family after the suspension of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals.
CSK teammates Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina will for the first time face-off in IPL after playing together for eight editions in the cash-rich tournament.
Dhoni-led Pune thrashed Mumbai in all departments of the game and will hope to register their second win. In-form Ajinkya Rahane, Faf du Plessis, Kevin Pietersen, Steve Smith and Dhoni make a strong batting unit and the top order showed their class against Mumbai.
In their bowling department, the experience of Ishant Sharma and R.P. Singh will come in useful to strike early against Gujarat like they did in the campaign opener.
Experienced off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who got to bowl only one over against Mumbai will lead the spin bowling department alongside youngster Murugan Ashwin.
On the other hand, Gujarat also have a formidable top order batting line-up with the likes of in-form Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, Raina, Dinesh Karthik and all-rounders Dwayne Bravo and James Faulkner to follow.
Praveen Kumar, Bravo, Faulkner, Pradeep Sangwan and left-arm off-spinner Ravindra Jadeja will form a considerable bowling line-up.
Rising Pune Supergiants: MS Dhoni (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Kevin Pietersen, Faf du Plessis, R Ashwin, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Jaskaran Singh, Steven Smith, M Ashwin, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Rajat Bhatia, RP Singh, Scott Boland, Adam Zampa, Thisara Perera, Ankit Sharma, Ankush Bains, Ashok Dinda, Baba Aparajith, Deepak Chahar.
Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (captain), Sarabjit Ladda, Akshdeep 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 Steyn, Pravin Tambe, Andrew Tye.