The Kings XI Punjab have lost 4 matches consecutively after winning their first 2 matches. Sehwag would be far from happy with this performance as they would now need to win 6 out of their remaining 8 matches to be sure of a playoff berth. The Kings occupy the 6th position on the table while the Lions are at the bottom inspite of a win against KKR. They also need to win 6 out of 8 matches to confirm a playoff spot. Hence, it is bound to be a mouthwatering contest as both the teams look to make a move before it’s too late. Both teams need a win as the Gujarat Lions face Kings XI Punjab !
The wicket at Rajkot is one of the flattest decks in this IPL. Hence, we may be in for a treat with some of the best batsmen in the world in action. The highest total on this track this IPL is 213 scored by RCB when they defeated Gujarat Lions while the lowest score is 171 by the RPS. With the pitch providing little or no assistance to the bowlers, we can be in for another high scoring contest surely. The team batting first would need to score at least 200 to have a chance.
KINGS XI PUNJAB – STRENGTHS
The Kings from Punjab have played some good cricket but have just failed to cross the line and win games. Manan Vohra got a brilliant 95 a couple of matches ago. Hashim Amla scored a magnificent century in the previous match against the Mumbai Indians. Shaun Marsh who played the match against Mumbai also looked in good form. Glenn Maxwell has been striking the ball pretty hard and far. Axar Patel has been decent and would like to improve upon his performances with both bat and ball. Mohit Sharma and Sandeep Sharma have been good enough with the ball barring the last match where Mumbai went berserk.
KINGS XI PUNJAB – CONCERNS
Glenn Maxwell would need to sort out the middle order batting. With Vohra possibly returning into the XI, Shaun Marsh may have to sit out or he may be made to play at no. 3 with Miller missing out again. Wriddhiman has clearly disappointed and not much can be expected from Gurkeerat Mann. The bowling has been pathetic with Ishant Sharma being taken to the cleaners more often than not. The spinners have been ineffective and useless. They clearly lack the experience of playing at this level. T. Natarajan or Varun Aaron should be brought back into the squad. Marcus Stoinis has been poor with both bat and ball and Darren Sammy should be in line to replace the Australian all-rounder.
GUJARAT LIONS – STRENGTHS
Gujarat have finally found the right opening combination when they opened with Aaron Finch and Brendon McCullum both of whom looked extremely dangerous. Baz is in the reckoning for the Orange Cap too. Suresh Raina led GL to a victory over KKR a couple of days back and he seems to have found his form at the right time. Dinesh Karthik has been consistent barring a few matches. Ishan Kishan can be a dangerous customer who can hit the ball long and hard. As far as bowling is concerned, Tye had been impressive and may make his way back into the team at the expense of an out of form Dwayne Smith. James Faulkner gives a good balance to the team. Basil Thampi has been very impressive for the Lions.
GUJARAT LIONS – CONCERNS
Dwayne Smith seems to be a weak link and may make way for Andrew Tye. Ravindra Jadeja has hardly contributed to the team’s cause so far. The Indian pacers have been expensive and have looked spineless at times barring Basil Thampi. Praveen Kumar and Dhawal Kulkarni have both been disappointing and Munaf Patel might be given another chance. The spinners are the biggest concern for Raina & Co. Suresh Raina himself came on to bowl in the last match and bowled much better than his frontline spinners like Shivil Kaushik. Raina should back himself to bowl some overs and help the spinners gain some support.
KXIP – Hashim Amla, Manan Vohra, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Wriddhiman Saha, Axar Patel, Darren Sammy, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma, T. Natarajan, KC Cariappa.
GL – Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Andrew Tye, Praveen Kumar, Basil Thampi, Shadab Jakati.
WATCH OUT FOR
KXIP – Hashim Amla, Manan Vohra, Glenn Maxwell
GL – Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, Basil Thampi
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Played -2, KXIP won – 1, GL won – 1
CONCLUSION AND MATCH PREDICTION
Both these teams would be desperate for a win today as they need to win and join RPS on 6 points. As the race to the play-off heats up, we can be in for a cracker of a contest. Both teams love to chase and there should be no surprises on what the captain chooses to do after winning the toss. Here’s what we predict.
TOSS – KXIP wins and opts to field.
1ST INNINGS SCORE – 180-190
MATCH – KXIP win by 4-6 wickets.
TOSS – GL wins and opts to field.
1ST INNINGS SCORE – 185-195
MATCH – GL win by 5-7 wickets.