May 04, 2017, 08:00pm local time (02:30pm GMT)
As the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) look to keep their hopes alive in the tournament, their task gets slightly easier as they take on a further depleted Gujarat Lions (GL) side at the business end of the tournament. Punjab will need to win at least three out of their remaining four matches to stand a chance of making it to the top four and this would be a golden opportunity to tame the Lions.
A rare failure from their openers in the last game showed how vulnerable their batting can be once their lower middle order is exposed and Gujarat will have to believe that they have the resources to do that. However, it will once again be Sandeep Sharma who might turn out to be the main threat given his consistency and wicket taking ability. With a highest score of 25 in his last ten innings, Wriddhiman Saha will desperately need to get some runs to support the likes of Axar Patel at the back end of the innings.
If the losses of Dwayne Bravo and Andrew Tye weren’t bad enough, the Lions were dealt with another blow as Brendon McCullum was ruled out of the remainder of the tournament. With 319 runs he was their second highest run scorer this season as well as one of their best fielders. That leaves Gujarat with exactly four foreign players in their squad which might give Chirag Suri of the United Arab Emirates his first game.
The onus would fall upon the experienced players like Dwayne Smith, Ravindra Jadeja and James Faulkner to show to the world why they are regarded so highly in international cricket and for someone like Faulkner, who was recently snubbed by Cricket Australia, the stakes should be higher.
KXIP – WWLWL
GL – LLLWL
Kings XI should go in with an unchanged XI.
KXIP – 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Manan Vohra, 4 Shaun Marsh, 5 Glenn Maxwell (c), 6 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 7 Axar Patel, 8 Mohit Sharma, 9 Varun Aaron, 10 Sandeep Sharma, 11 T Natarajan
Chirag Suri should come in for Brendon McCullum.
GL- 1 Ishan Kishan, 2 Chirag Suri, 3 Suresh Raina (c), 4 Aaron Finch, 5 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 6 Dwayne Smith, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 James Faulkner, 9 Pradeep Sangwan, 10 Basil Thampi, 11 Ankit Soni
• Gujarat Lions’ ouster from the playoffs mean that this is the first time since the inaugural edition of the IPL that Suresh Raina won’t play in the knockout stage
• James Faulkner is one of only two bowlers to have taken two five wicket hauls in the IPL
• Sandeep Sharma became the first bowler to dismiss Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli in the same game
© Cricket World 2017