Preview of Today’s IPL Match (April 18, 8pm): Likely Playing XI and Head-to-head Between Gujarat and Bangalore

Breaking: AB de Villiers has announced through his twitter handle, that he will miss the clash against Gujarat Lions because of an injury.

We might still only be in the second week of IPL 2017, but Gujarat Lions and Royal Challengers Bangalore, who face off in match 20 at the SCA Stadium in Rajkot on April 18, can no longer afford to have the mindset that the season has only begun. They are currently 7th and 8th on the IPL points table and face an uphill task to move up and keep themselves in contention for making the playoffs.

Gujarat and Bangalore were two of the injury-hit sides at the start of the season. Ideally, these two teams would have wanted to get off to a good start and be in a good position by the time the key personnel return. But unfortunately, they have made horrific starts and now gotten themselves into a situation which necessitates winning at least half-a-dozen of their remaining fixtures—ten matches for the Lions and nine for the Royal Challengers—to potentially qualify for the playoffs.

Tonight’s (April 18) match is of utmost importance to these two teams because of their current positions on the points table. A defeat for RCB would be a massive setback to their season with one win from six matches and, on the other hand, a loss for the Lions will see them drop to the bottom of the table.

Form of Gujarat and Bangalore

GL: LWLL (from left to right, most recent first)
RCB: LLLWL (from left to right, most recent first)

Gujarat v Bangalore: Head-to-head

Royal Challengers lead the head-to-head record by 2-1, albeit the corresponding fixture last season was won by the Lions.

Match 20: Gujarat Lions v Royal Challengers Bangalore Playing XI

Dwayne Bravo trained with the rest of the Gujarat squad on the eve of the match, but reports suggest that the West Indian all-rounder is unlikely to feature against Virat Kohli’s men.

Aaron Finch missed his side’s match against Mumbai Indians because his kit bag didn’t come to Mumbai. This was the solitary reason for his missing the last match. With Finch available for selection against RCB, Gujarat’s team management have a tough call to make: Jason Roy replaced the Australian batsman for the clash against Mumbai and got to bat only at No. 6. Dropping the South African-born England opener will be harsh, but Finch, having played in each of Gujarat’s first three matches, is clearly the first choice for the Lions.

You can expect Roy to drop out of the playing XI, which should, therefore, include Finch.

Gujarat didn’t play badly against Mumbai, even though they ended up on the losing side. Because of their relatively good collective performance, Lions are unlikely to make many changes to their playing XI for the clash against Royal Challengers. The bowling attack might get a couple of alterations, with Praveen Kumar or Munaf Patel making way for Shadab Jakati or Dhawal Kulkarni. Do not be surprised if both Praveen and Munaf are dropped, and Kulkarni and Jakati replace them.

GL’s probable playing XI v RCB: 1. Suresh Raina, 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. Basil Thampi, and 11. Shadab Jakati

Actual playing XI for Gujarat: 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. Basil Thampi, and 11. Shivil Kaushik




For Royal Challengers, naming the playing XI is going to be far from straightforward. And, they are once again expected to make multiple changes, replacing even those who did well with the players who sat out the 27-run loss against Rising Pune Supergiant.

Other than AB de Villiers, almost every other overseas player—Chris Gayle, Shane Watson and Tymal Mills, primarily—has let down Bangalore so far.

Samuel Badree, since coming into the side, has added a bit of potency to the RCB bowling attack and on Tuesday, will look to recreate the magic of last Friday against Mumbai. Royal Challengers also need to take a call on Mandeep Singh, who has failed with the bat in all five matches so far. In case they decide to drop Mandeep, Vishnu Vinod or Sachin Baby might get a chance to play.

Because AB de Villiers will miss the clash against Gujarat Lions, the team management might have a straightforward​ decision to make. Chris Gayle might come in for the South African superstar in a like-for-like swap, while Shane Watson potentially keeps his place in the side from the defeat against Rising Pune.

RCB’s probable playing XI against GL: 1. Virat Kohli, 2. Chris Gayle, 3. Shane Watson, 4. Kedar Jadhav, 5. Stuart, 6. Sachin Baby/Vishnu Vinod, 7. Sreenath Aravind, 8. Pawan Negi, 9. Adam Milne, 10. Samuel Badree, and 11. Yuzvendra Chahal

Actual playing XI for RCB: 1. Virat Kohli, 2. Chris Gayle, 3. Shane Watson, 4. Kedar Jadhav, 5. Stuart Binny, 6. Mandeep Singh, 7. Sreenath Aravind, 8. Pawan Negi, 9. Adam Milne, 10. Travis Head, and 11. Yuzvendra Chahal




6 comments

    1. Travis Head is also an option for Royal Challengers Bangalore. He played well against Sunrisers Hyderabad on the opening night of this season, so, yes, with Shane Watson and Chris Gayle underperforming, Head might break into the side.

      But leaving out a player like Chris Gayle is a tough call for any team management to make. And, Watson, as an all-rounder, lends balance to the side.

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