Gujarat Lions chased down matches at Rajkot and Pune last season to win both. In Pune, even the target of 196 could not stop the team from nicking the victory. Ravindra Jadeja’s arrival after two matches in IPL will be a boost to the team. The bowler was rested due to finger injury and will start this IPL season playing at his home ground. Dwayne Bravo is still rested due to injury. Bravo was at the practice session and expected to join soon, even if not on the latest fixture.
Rising Pune Supergiant will play with Steven Smith, who missed the previous campaign. Gujarat might include James Faulkner or Andrew Tye to boost their bowling arsenal. Per Brad Hodge, Faulkner or Tye was on consideration since the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad. He said that it would a 50-50 call to make a change. The player further added even if it did not work, they will try out the options once more. He emphasized on the need to understand and improve few areas of the game. The player is hopeful because they have realized this early in the tournament. Hodge said, it would be a “good opportunity to knuckle down and have look at the particular areas.”
In Rajkot, Suresh Raina could not find any better luck. Being the third top six smasher in IPL, he could only strike two sixes so far on this pitch. Smith facing Jadeja in the match will be on spot light. Jadeja is the only bowler to removed Smith four times in IPL. For others, it has been only two as highest. The pitch has been a bit bleak for the home team.
Gujarat has won only two matches out of six they played in Rajkot. There has been an average record for the chasing team on the pitch. The chasing team won five of six matches. Gujarat Lions has been a late striker on the points table. Last season, the team could not raise up the chart until the league state was over. However, they made it to the top by the final fixtures of the tournament.
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