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IPL 9, Match 9 Preview: Mumbai Indians, Gujarat Lions aim to continue the winning momentum

Dwayne Bravo Gujarat Lions (GL) IPL 2016
Gujarat Lions. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Gujarat Lions traveled 850 miles from their home to play their debut game in the Indian Premier League and then flew back to Rajkot to host the Rising Pune Supergiants and are now in Mumbai to play their third game against the defending champions Mumbai Indians. Amidst the tour GL first beat the Kings XI Punjab quite comfortably and then in the CSK derby game defeated their unidentical-twins RPS with 7 wickets and 12 balls in hand.

MI, on the other hand, were stupefied by the Wankhede surface. It wasn’t the belter that they expected it to be and rather assisted the seamers early on. Pune exploited the conditions to the hilt and it looked like the tag of being poor starters would be engraved along Mumbai’s name as they flew to Kolkata to play the hosts KKR who are always a formidable side at home and with the wicket suiting their spin-heavy attack very few thought Rohit Sharma and company would return with a confidence boosting 6-wicket win.

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Faceoff:

It will be a faceoff between the Lions bowling unit and Mumbai’s batting fragment-

In the two games thus far Gujarat Lions have shown a tremendous ability to pull things back, in both the games the opposition had a good start but once the ball softened their bowlers pushed their weight and took over the rein of the game. In Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, and James Faulkner they have three bowlers who can not only tie down the best batsmen in the game but also crack up the wickets. Mumbai Indians need a certain strategy to deal with Jadeja’s quickies, Bravo’s indipping slow Yorkers and Faulkner’s back of the hands.

Mumbai take pride in their batting firepower. With Rohit Sharma at the top, the likes of Jos Buttler, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Ambati Rayudu to follow they fancy their chances against any bowling attack. It will be interesting to see if Mumbai continue to persist with Hardik at no.3. He has failed in both the previous attempts scoring a couple of 9s and the purpose for which he was promoted wasn’t served rather Mitchell McClenaghan as a pinch hitter materialized quite well. Rohit’s unbeaten 84 and Buttler’s exploits in his previous outing will give them a lot of credence. The team has always been a different side once the skipper is in his flow and Rohit knows it well.

From Mumbai to Gujarat:

Mumbai isn’t the ‘patta’ surface any longer and both the teams would want to win the toss and bowl first. The pacers will find assistance.

Despite the fact that they won the last game chasing a good total MI would be wary of the strong all-round Gujarat team they are up against.

Gujarat Lions won both the matches without really being under pressure but they have heavily relied on the openers, Aaron Finch and Brendon McCullum. Finch has hit back to back fifties and has been the player of the match on both occasions as well. With Raina at three and Dinesh Karthik at four, they don’t have a pure batsman after them apart from Akshdeep Nath who debuted in the previous game and is yet to walk out to the crease. MI have the best chance if they can surge through the front line of attack and expose the inexperience of their middle order, but that would also need them to do that promptly since the likes of Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, and James Faulkner can bat enough to extinguish a minor fire without casualties.

For Gujarat, it would be crucial to not get carried away as complacency kills more surfers than the waves. Their bowling heavily relies on Bravo to get them the wickets and RPS showed he isn’t invincible even with his change of pace. Faulkner hasn’t really found his best with the ball but Jadeja’s form would definitely give skipper Raina the confidence. Old horse Praveen Kumar would also love to bowl on the wicket that supports movement. The contribution from Shadab Jakati and Pravin Tambe also made a lot of difference in the game against RPS. Cracking away the Mumbai top order would be important otherwise, they definitely have enough arsenal to blow the Lions apart.

Stattack:

1. Praveen Kumar will be playing his 100th IPL game.

2. Rohit Sharma needs just one more six to complete 150 sixes in IPL.

3. Suresh Raina needs just 29 runs to complete 6000 runs in Twenty20s.

4. Four Gujarat Lions’ bowlers have taken more than 50 wickets in the IPL – Praveen Kumar, Dwayne Bravo, James Faulkner and Ravindra Jadeja.

5. Harbhajan Singh needs one wicket to take over the 3rd highest wicket-takers position from KKR’s Piyush Chawla, with Lastih Malinga and Amit Mishra at the top two.

Teams:

Mumbai Indians: After Lindl Simmons injury MI have added Martin Guptill to their squad and would want to give him a game but at the same time Parthiv Patel hasn’t done anything wrong to be dropped. Would be interesting to see if they go in with the winning combination or back Guptill to give them a blazing start.

Gujarat Lions: The Lions don’t really need to make any change in their lineup, bringing in a second left-arm spinner in the form of Jakati paid off well for them in the last game, while the decision to swap Ishan Kishan with Nath wasn’t quite the call. In all likelihood they will field the same XI unless they win the toss, are bowling first and want another pacer instead of the spinner.

Probable XI-

Mumbai Indians:

Rohit Sharma (C), Parthiv Patel, Hardik Pandya, Jos Buttler (wk), Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Shreyas Gopal, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell McClenaghan, Tim Southee, Jasprit Bumrah

Gujarat Lions: 

Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina (C), Dwayne Bravo, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Akshdeep Nath, Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Praveen Kumar, Shadab Jakati, Pravin Tambe

How is the SRH v KKR match expected to play? – IPL 9 Match 8 Preview: Sunrisers Hyderabad prepare to face KKR challenge

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