IPL 10, Match 39, RPS v GL Preview: Supergiant aim winning momentum against struggling Gujarat Lions

IPL 10, Match 39, RPS v GL Preview: Supergiant aim winning momentum against struggling Gujarat Lions

In the previous encounter between the two sides, Gujarat Lions had beaten Mumbai Indians by 7 wickets.

Rising Pune Supergiant
Rising Pune Supergiant celebrate after winning against Royal Challengers Bangalore. (Photo: IANS)

The Rising Pune Supergiant had a brief scare this season when they seemed to be coming up with a repeat horror show of the previous edition. However, the RPS camp has got back on track in time. They have managed to win 4 out of their last 5 matches. Now, they see themselves as one of the contenders for the playoffs. Their next hurdle comes against the other newbie of the league – Gujarat Lions.

Ever since the two teams joined the IPL roster, RPS has failed to register a win against the Gujarat Lions. Clearly, the Lions has often been tipped as the better side among the two new entrants. But the recent performances certainly speak otherwise. The Lions have been very inconsistent this season. They lost to the Mumbai Indians in their previous encounter in the Super Over. Prior to that, they had beaten the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

As the results suggest, their inconsistency has been the primary reason for their dismal show this season. On the other hand, RPS has slightly got into the groove as the tournament has progressed. They have finally found a settled unit that looks balanced on the field and on the paper too. Moreover, the advantage of playing in front of their home crowd at the MCA Stadium, Pune, must cheer the spirits of the Steve Smith-led side.

Toss: Rising Pune Supergiant  won the toss and elected to field

Quotes from the toss:

Steve Smith: “We are going to bowl. There was some dew the other night. This is generally a good chasing ground. Ferguson, unfortunately, misses out. We have Ben Stokes back. Shardul Thakur is playing in place of Deepak Chahar. These (remaining) five games are really important for us.”

Suresh Raina: “We are doing well. The bowlers need to bowl well in the first six overs. (Dwayne) Smithy comes in for AJ (Tye) and (Pradeep) Sangwan is playing in place of (Irfan)Pathan. All five games are important for us. We got to express ourselves and enjoy each and every ball. ”

Playing XI:

Gujarat Lions: Ishan Kishan, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina(c), Aaron Finch, Dwayne Smith, Dinesh Karthik(w), Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Ankit Soni, Pradeep Sangwan, Basil Thampi

Rising Pune Supergiant: Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Tripathi, Steven Smith(c), Manoj Tiwary, MS Dhoni(w), Ben Stokes, Daniel Christian, Washington Sundar, Jaydev Unadkat, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir

Focus will be on

MS Dhoni

Former RPS skipper MS Dhoni has been a top performer for whatever team he has played for. However, the recent times have seen him being under the scanner. A lot of eyeballs will be glued to Dhoni for the reason that there have been a few people questioning his place in the lineup. Dhoni, however, has been answering his critics with his willow. He already has a fifty to his name this season. However, it is the inconsistency that has crept in his game play. He could not finish things off in the way he is expected to in the previous game.

Ravindra Jadeja

The Gujarat Lions coach Brad Hodge had tipped Ravindra Jadeja to be their main bowler in the tournament. But the all-rounder has largely been unsuccessful in giving the breakthroughs to the team this season. He has been electrifying on the field with a couple of runouts to his name in the previous game. However, the bowling has not been up to the mark. With the bat, he is still due for some runs under his belt.

Rahul Tripathi

RPS opener Rahul Tripathi has been an emerging talent. He has been on the fringes of Maharashtra cricket for quite some time. It was about time that he got his fair share of chances. Tripathi has been making the most out of the opportunities he is getting at the top of the order. He has a fifty to his name to go with a couple of 40s as well. He has consistently been able to give flying starts to the Supergiant in the powerplays this season.

Team Combinations:

Rising Pune Supergiant

The Rising Pune Supergiant have very few reasons to even think of making a change to their playing eleven. Ben Stokes is likely to be fit for the game and in case that happens, Dan Christian will have to make way for him. Lockie Ferguson, who played in the previous match against RCB, was very impressive with his figures of 2/7. He deserves to stay back in the lineup. RPS might consider to swap out Deepak Chahar and bring back Shardul Thakur in the lineup.

The batting department looks very settled at the moment. Rahul Tripathi and Ajinkya Rahane have been prolific run-getters in the top order. Steve Smith was the top scorer for the team in the previous match and MS Dhoni got a start too. Manoj Tiwary, the unsung hero of the season, has been consistently scoring runs this season. If Ben Stokes makes a comeback, he will only make things greater for the batting order.

Gujarat Lions

The Gujarat camp has been dented by a big blow ahead of the crucial encounter. Their star bowler Andrew Tye has been ruled out of the remainder of the tournament due to a dislocated shoulder. Tye had injured himself during the previous fixture against Mumbai Indians. The team camp will have to include a forced change as a result of it. Expect Dwayne Smith to walk in the side as the like-for-like replacement of Tye – albeit not of the same magnitude with the ball.

Also, the team can be tempted to play Jason Roy, but they will then have a void in the bowling lineup to fill. In that case, they will have to do away with an Indian player from the existing troops in the playing eleven. Barring this change for Tye, they are likely to play the same side in the match. Ankit Soni had been impressive as the spinner in the last game and deserves another chance.

StatAttack:

– Number of times both teams have faced each other. Gujarat Lions have won on all three occasions.

150 – Rahul Tripathi bats with a strike rate of 150.59 – the 7th highest in the IPL 10.

4400  – Suresh Raina became the first batsman to reach 4400 runs in IPL history.