The 16th match of the 2016 edition of the IPL will see the undefeated Gujarat Lions welcome the Sunrisers Hyderabad to the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajikot in what promises to be a fantastic clash.
Can the newly-formed Gujarat franchise make it four wins out of four or will the Sunrisers get their campaign back on the right track with a win over the highly fancied Lions? Let’s take a look.
To Win Match
To Win Match
Gujarat Lions 6/10 | Draw 35/1 | Sunrisers Hyderabad 27/20
The Gujarat Lions have been the form team in the embryonic stages of the 2016 edition of the IPL. The newly-formed franchise have won all three of their games, trouncing the Kings XI Punjab and the Rising Pune Supergiants before winning a thriller against the Mumbai Indians on Saturday afternoon.
Aaron Finch has been magnificent at the top of the order for the men in red, scoring half-centuries in each of the three games he’s been involved in. The burly Aussie has done everything in his power to show the Australian selection committee just how big of a mistake they made dropping for the opening stages of the World T20.
His partner at the top of the order, Brendon McCullum, hasn’t quite reached the same heights as his Australian counterpart. He did put together a typically belligerent innings against the Rising Pune Supergiants, however, failures against the Kings XI and the Mumbai Indians have put a bit of pressure on the former Black Caps skipper. As they say, class is permanent – so we really shouldn’t have to wait too much longer to see something magical from Baz.
One area of the worry for the Lions will be their bowling attack. James Faulkner has had a summer to forget, and he’s brought his wretched form with the ball into the IPL with him. Dwayne Bravo has also struggled a bit since his heroics in the first match against the Kings XI conceding 82 in his subsequent eight overs, picking up only two wickets.
They are able to call on the expertise of Ravindra Jadeja. The Indian all-rounder has been the pick of the Lions’ bowlers in the tournament. He’s been consistent as anything, keeping the scoring down and picking up four wickets in the two games he’s played so far. He was rested for the clash against the Mumbai Indians and will be raring to go come Thursday afternoon.
All said, the Gujarat Lions look a formidable unit with a top and middle order capable of taking any side in the competition apart. They will likely have to be at their best if they’re to overcome David Warner and the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The Sunrisers have endured a bit of a shaky start to the season, winning one and losing two of their opening three games. They earned their first and only win of the season as David Warner’s unbeaten 90 helped his side to a seven-wicket victory against an out of sorts Mumbai Indians.
Before we go on here, we have to look at the form of Shikhar Dhawan. The Indian opener may well not even get the nod for the next game following scores of 8, 6 and 2 in the first three games of the competition. If he does play in Thursday’s fixture, he’ll absolutely have to put together a decent innings or he could find himself relegated to the bench for the remainder of the season.
While Warner has been good at the top of the order and Dhawan has been consistently rubbish, the Sunrisers’ middle and lower order have been wildly erratic. Eoin Morgan has shown flashes of brilliance and glimpses of the form that saw him struggle in the World T20. Moses Henriques hasn’t set the world alight either, scoring well below a run-a-ball in the two games in which made 20+.
While their batting has let them down a bit, their bowling has been solid – and it will need to be good again if they are to contain a powerful Gujarat top order. Ashish Nehra and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been outstanding this season while Mustafizur Rahman has also played his part at first change.
I am very much of the opinion that this Sunrisers side can put on a decent showing against the Lions this weekend and indeed launch an assault on a coveted top four spot if their top and middle order show the sort of consistency that their seam-heavy attack has.
Verdict: Gujarat to make the higher six over score at 13/20