A blockbuster Sunday awaits Indian Premier League (IPL) followers and the fans of the following four teams: Mumbai Indians (MI), Gujarat Lions (GL), Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), and Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS). The 4pm match on April 16 features Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai take on Suresh Raina’s Gujarat at the Wankhede Stadium and this will be followed by Virat Kohli and Steve Smith locking horns once again at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, this time as captains of their respective IPL franchises, Royal Challengers and Pune Supergiant.
Match 16: MI v GL, April 16 (4pm)
Mumbai Indians take on a very little changed Gujarat Lions side, who beat them home and away last season. The beauty of any sport is no two matches/seasons are the same, and the Mumbai of this season look settled, resourceful and well-oiled compared to last season. And Lions, on the other hand, have been hit by injuries and made some unimpressive selection decisions at the start of their campaign.
Both teams go into this evening’s match on the back of victories in their previous matches: MI, led by Kieron Pollard’s mature knock, beat RCB in a thrilling fashion at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium and Gujarat Lions piled more mistery on Rising Pune with a seven-wicket win in Rajkot.
You might think that Mumbai and Gujarat will stick to their winning combinations with which they won on Friday.
But Mumbai will hope to have Lasith Malinga back, with the unorthodox Srilankan pacer missing Friday’s match due to illness. We do not yet know if Malinga is or will be fit, but if he is, Tim Southee will probably make way in a like-for-like swap. Otherwise, Mumbai do not have to make changes and as aforementioned are a settled side.
Against Gujarat, MI’s playing XI could be as follows: 1. Rohit Sharma (c), 2. Parthiv Patel, 3. Jos Buttler, 4. Nitish Rana, 5. Kieron Pollard, 6. Krunal Pandya, 7. Hardik Pandya, 8. Harbhajan Singh, 9. Mitchell McClenaghan, 10. Tim Southee/Lasith Malinga, and 11. Jasprit Bumrah
Mumbai Indians’s actual playing XI for the clash against Gujarat is the same as what Cricfooty had predicted: Lasith Malinga is in for Tim Southee.
The Lions produced a roaring performance at their own den, with a much-changed playing XI from the defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). They made four changes and bolstered their bowling attack in particular, with Ravindra Jadeja getting match-fit and returning to the side and Andrew Tye replacing Jason Roy and taking a hat-trick on his IPL debut.
Gujarat Lions might continue to make changes until they find the ideal playing XI, and the places of Shadab Jakati and Praveen Kumar are under threat.
Here’s what Gujarat Lions’s playing XI might be against Mumbai: 1. Suresh Raina (c), 2. Brendon McCullum, 3. Dwayne Smith, 4. Dinesh Karthik, 5. Aaron Finch, 6. Ravindra Jadeja, 7. Ishan Kishan, 8. Andrew Tye, 9. Dhawal Kulkarni, 10. Shivil Kaushik, and 11. Basil Thampi
Actual playing XI for GL v MI: 1. Suresh Raina (c), 2. Brendon McCullum, 3. Dwayne Smith, 4. Dinesh Karthik, 5. Jason Roy, 6. Ravindra Jadeja, 7. Ishan Kishan, 8. Andrew Tye, 9. Praveen Kumar 10. Munaf Patel, and 11. Basil Thampi
Match 17: RCB v RPS, April 16 (8pm)
Confidence cannot be high when you have lost three matches in a row and that too by margins of six wickets, 97 runs and seven wickets. But Rising Pune, as a team, need to pull their socks up and look to beat a team who, like them, are a beleaguered bunch and have lost two in two.
The problem for these two teams is that they do not, even after four matches each, know what their best playing XI is.
Royal Challengers did get their combination right against Mumbai, who they played on a sluggish and an unusual Bangalore pitch. Friday’s match was played in the evening, and the nature of the pitch is likely to be different for tonight’s clash against the bottom-placed Pune Supergiant.
With Virat Kohli back for them, RCB’s batting looks strong and settled, albeit the form of Chris Gayle will be a worry. The hard-hitting Jamaican is likely to retain his place despite his poor form with the bat. Mandeep Singh isn’t suited to batting in the middle order and as a result, might drop out of the playing XI. Sachin Baby might replace him and ideally should.
RCB’s probable playing XI against Rising Pune: 1. Virat Kohli (c), 2. Chris Gayle, 3. AB de Villiers, 4. Kedar Jadhav, 5. Stuart Binny, 6. Sachin Baby, 7. Pawan Negi, 8. Sreenath Aravind, 9. Tymal Mills, 10. Samuel Badree, and 11. Yuzvendra Chahal
Actual playing XI for RCB: 1. Virat Kohli (c), 2. Shane Watson, 3. AB de Villiers, 4. Kedar Jadhav, 5. Stuart Binny, 6. Mandeep Singh, 7. Pawan Negi, 8. Sreenath Aravind, 9. Adam Milne, 10. Samuel Badree, and 11. Yuzvendra Chahal
Pune Supergiant have problems aplenty in the batting and bowling departments, and after just four matches into this season, look down and out. Pune have already tried multiple combinations and not looked like they can strike the right one.
Expect changes once again, for Rising Pune.
RPS’s probable playing XI against RCB: 1. Steve Smith (c), 2. Ajinkya Rahane, 3. Rahul Tripathi, 4. Mayank Agarwal, 5. Ben Stokes, 6. MS Dhoni. 7. Manoj Tiwary, 8. Rahul Chahar, 9. Imran Tahir, 10. Lockie Ferguson, and 11. Shardul Thakur
RPS’s actual playing XI: 1. Steve Smith (c), 2. Ajinkya Rahane, 3. Rahul Tripathi, 4. Jaydev Unadkat, 5. Ben Stokes, 6. MS Dhoni. 7. Manoj Tiwary, 8. Rahul Chahar, 9. Imran Tahir, 10. Daniel Christian, and 11. Shardul Thakur