Match 13 hosts and bottom-placed Gujarat Lions have gained a significant boost ahead of their clash against Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS), with Ravindra Jadeja returning to action after recovering from an injury to his spinning finger. The Saurashtra spinning all-rounder joined the Lions squad on Wednesday and is available for selection.
Gujarat’s team selection has been nothing short of bizarre in the two matches so far. Rather than picking a balanced playing XI, they have loaded their side with batsmen and their four overseas players, Brendon McCullum, Jason Roy, Aaron Finch, and Dwayne Smith, have all been batsmen.
Of course, the absence of Dwayne Bravo, who is currently undergoing rehabilitation to recover from the hamstring injury which he suffered while playing for Melbourne Renegades in the 2016-17 Big Bash League (BBL), has allowed them to include an additional batsman. But they need not have ignored an all-rounder like James Faulkner, who lends perfect balance to any side he plays.
Gujarat Lions coach Brad Hodge admitted after his side’s nine-wicket defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad, that they will be looking to reinforce their toothless bowling attack. Faulkner, who is a genuine all-rounder in Twenty20 (T20), might well replace Dwayne Smith in the Lions’ middle order for tonight’s home clash against Rising Pune. In addition, Jadeja’s inclusion will only lend Gujarat the balance that they have lacked in the 10 and 9-wicket defeats so far, to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
As a result of these changes, here’s the probable playing XI for the Lions against Supergiant: 1. Suresh Raina, 2. Brendon McCullum, 3. Jason Roy, 4. Dinesh Karthik, 5. Aaron Finch, 6. Ravindra Jadeja, 7. James Faulkner, 8. Praveen Kumar, 9. Dhawal Kulkarni, 10. Tejas Baroka, and 11. Shivil Kaushik
Gujarat Lions’s actual playing XI: 1. Suresh Raina (c), 2. Brendon McCullum, 3. Dwayne Smith, 4. Andrew Tye, 5. Aaron Finch, 6. Ravindra Jadeja, 7. Dinesh Karthik, 8. Basil Thampi, 9. Praveen Kumar, 10. Shadab Jakati, 11. Ishan Kishan
Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) suffered a heavy defeat by 97 runs against Delhi Daredevils on Tuesday night, when Steve Smith had to drop out of the playing XI due to an upset stomach and Manoj Tiwary was unavailable due to his father’s demise.
This duo is available for tonight’s match, and should come straight into the side, in place of Faf du Plessis, who was Smith’s replacement against Delhi, and Rahul Tripathi (Tiwary). Daniel Christian, who was dropped after one outing against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), might return too, for compatriot Adam Zampa, who was taken to the cleaners by Sanju Samson and Chris Morris at the death in the ninth match of IPL 2017.
Following their seven-wicket victory in their opening match against Mumbai Indians, RPS have suffered two heavy defeats and need to react positively as a unit to their second defeat of the season.
Here’s the probable Rising Pune Supergiant playing XI against Gujarat Lions: 1. Steve Smith (c), 2. Ajinkya Rahane, 3. Mayank Agarwal, 4. Ben Stokes, 5. MS Dhoni, 6. Manoj Tiwary, 7. Rajat Bhatia, 8. Deepak Chahar, 9. Daniel Christian, 10. Imran Tahir, and 11. Ashok Dinda
Actual playing XI for Rising Pune: 1. Steve Smith, 2. Ajinkya Rahane, 3. Manoj Tiwary, 4. MS Dhoni, 5. Ben Stokes, 6. Lockie Ferguson, 7. Rahul Chahar, 8. Shardul Thakur, 9. Imran Tahir, 10. Ankit Sharma, and 11. Rahul Tripathi