Gujarat Lions will face Sunrisers Hyderabad in match number 34 of the Indian Premier League at Hyderabad on Friday. Having tasted defeats in their last two matches, the Lions will be keen to get back on the winning track. They went down to Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils in their last two contests, in which they were actually favourites to win. For Sunrisers, the biggest news in the preview to the match would be the return of star all-rounder Yuvraj Singh. The veteran cricketer hasn’t played a single game, since injuring himself in the World T20 quarters against Australia.
Lions played the last two matches at home, and lost. Now, they would be hoping for a change in luck as they face their opponents away from home. Once again, they would be heavily dependent on their star batsmen to perform. Their top three have been significant to Lions’ success so far. Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith, have been the form batsmen for Lions, but have failed in the last two games. Aaron Finch too hasn’t been in the same form that he was when he began the IPL. Since coming back from injury, he has struggled to score big.
Apart from the top three, Lions will also need skipper Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik to do well. Raina got a start in the previous match, but failed to carry on. Kartik managed a fifty in the previous match. However, it was more a case of him lending the score some credibility than anything else. Lions will like to find themselves in a position from where Karthik can dominate the opposition. There was good news for Lions at last as Ravindra Jadeja got among the runs in the last game. The visitors would be keen to build on their batting gains.
In the bowling department, Praveen Kumar and Dhawal Kulkarni could not make much of an impression in the previous match. But, to be fair to them, they really did not have a lot of runs to play with. Chinaman bowler Shivil Kaushik has been impressive in the few matches that he has played. Shifting focus to Sunrisers, they would be keen to carry the momentum gained from the 15-run win against Bangalore. Once again, David Warner starred with a whirlwind 92 while Kane Williamson chipped in with a fluent 50. Moises Henriques also got a quick 31 from 14.
Sunrisers have one of the better bowling line-ups in the tournament. The pace bowling trio of Ashish Nehra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mustafizur Rahman have done very well to restrict opponents, and put pressure on them. Barinder Sran has also done a decent job whenever given the opportunities. Henriques was a bit expensive in the previous match, so he would like to put up a better effort. Above all, many eyes will be on Yuvraj. Having been away from the action for quite a while, he will be keen to make an impression in IPL 9.
--By A Cricket Analyst