Rajkot: Their three-match unbeaten march halted in the previous game, Gujarat Lions would be looking to get back to winning ways when they lock horns with Royal Challengers Bangalore, who are without the services of their hard-hitting batsman Chris Gayle, in the IPL encounter in Rajkot on Sunday.
Suresh Raina-led Gujarat Lions, one of the two debutant teams in IPL this season, started their maiden campaign with impressive performance in first three games, winning against Kings XI Punjab, Rising Pune Supergiants and Mumbai Indians.
However, the Lions suffered a humiliating 10-wicket loss at home against Sunrisers Hyderabad in their last match.
Come Sunday, they would like to bring their campaign back on track by capitalising on RCB's weak bowling and the absence of destructive opener Gayle, who has gone back to the West Indies to be with his partner Natasha Berridge and new-born son.
The Lions batting would revolve around openers Aaron Finch and Brendon McCullum, followed by the likes of Raina, Dwayne Bravo and Dinesh Karthik.
McCullum is yet to show his full potential, even as Finch had struck three back-to-back half centuries in first three games, failing only against Sunrisers Hyderabad when he could not open his account.
The Lions opening pair had clicked just once in four matches so far, which was against Rising Pune Supergiants, where they notched up 85 runs for the first wicket in less than nine overs.
The Lions would want Finch and McCullum to give them a solid platform against a formidable RCB batting line-up.
Raina looked in good touch in the last game with a 51-ball 75, although it came in a losing cause, and he would like to continue like that.
The two all-rounders in Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja are also expected to come in handy.
As far as their bowling is concerned, SCA stadium wicket doesn't favour seamers but still the Lions may opt for James Faulkner or Dwayne Smith in place of pacer Dale Steyn.
On the other hand, Virat Kohli-led RCB have had mixed fortunes so far in the tournament, winning two and losing two.
But they would take the heart from their victory over Rising Pune Supergiants at Pune last night.
Kohli and AB De Villiers are in terrific form and RCB's batting would rely heavily on these two.
Kohli has aggregated 267 runs in four innings, scoring three fifties to earn the orange cap, while de Villiers has scored 249 runs in four games.
Shane Watson has also been in good form with both bat and ball, while young Sarfraz Khan rose to the occasion a couple of times.
But RCB's main worry is their bowling, which came a cropper against Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians.
Watson along with Parveez Rasool, Harshal Patel would be look to fire in unison against Gujarat Lions on Sunday.
Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (Capt), 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, Dhaval Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar, Brandon McCullum, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaydev Shah, Umang Sharma, Dwayne Smith, Dale Styne, Pravin Tambe and Andrew Tye.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (Capt), Varun Aaron, Abu Nechi, S Arvind, Samuel Badree, Stuart Binny, Yuzuvendra Chahal, AB De Villiers, Praveen Dubey, Chris Gayle, Travis head, Iqbal Abdulla, Kedar Jadhav, Akshay Karnewar, Sarfraz Khan, Vikramjeet Malik, Mandeep Singh, Adam Milne, Harshal Patel, Lokesh Rahul, Parveez Rasool, Kane Richardson, Sachin Baby, Mitchell Starc, Vikas Tokas, Shane Watson, David Wiese and Tabraiz Shamsi.
Match starts at 4pm IST.
Published Date: Apr 24, 2016 09:15 am | Updated Date: Apr 24, 2016 09:16 am