Preview of Today’s IPL Match (April 23, 4pm): Gujarat vs Punjab | Form Guide | Head-to-head | Playing XI

Gujarat Lions (GL) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) are 8th and 6th, respectively, on the IPL points table, and of course, are enduring a poor season. However, one of them will be feeling a lot better and in one of the camps, the morale must be quite high. Yes, match 26’s hosts, Gujarat, is the team who will have a feel good factor about themselves, despite their position on the table.

With their captain Suresh Raina leading from the front with bat and ball, Lions pulled off a crucial victory over Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday night and will hope that they can, for the first time this IPL season, string two wins together. Gujarat’s bowling looks ordinary and barring Basil Thampi, no other bowler looks capable of taking wickets. On the flip side, the batting line-up has an intimidation factor about it and successfully chasing down 188 against KKR must have given the batsmen and the team plenty of confidence. Raina said after the win, that this result was a consequence of a “great team effort”.

Kings XI suffered a morale-denting defeat against Mumbai Indians and look like a team incapable of turning around their form. The sole positive to come out of the eight-wicket defeat to MI was that the batting, after a couple of poor performances, came good and is in good stead ahead of the clash against bottom-placed Gujarat. However, Kings XI’s bowling, like Gujarat’s, has been poor in the extreme. The fast bowlers are one-dimensional and can be carted around. Axar Patel, as the frontline spinner, has bowled reasonably well.

Form guide: GL vs KXIP

Gujarat: WLLWLL (from left to right, most recent result first; current position on the points table: 8th)
KXIP: LLLLWW (current position on the points table: 6th)

GL vs KXIP Head-to-head

The head-to-head record between these two teams stands at 1-1, with Gujarat and Punjab winning away from home last season.

Match 26: GL vs KXIP Playing XI

Two matches ago, Dwayne Bravo had said in a chat with the commentators during the clash against Royal Challengers Bangalore, that his return to action was a couple of matches away. Those two matches were at home against Royal Challengers Bangalore and the away fixture against Knight Riders. Now, although the West Indian all-rounder gave an update and has been travelling with the squad to the different venues in the country, his availability for this evening’s clash against Kings XI is unclear.

Gujarat’s middle order failed miserably in the 188-run chase against KKR and Suresh Raina singlehandedly won the match for Lions. Because they won that match, the team management might refrain from making changes to what is a winning combination. The batting order, which had Aaron Finch open the batting alongside Brendon McCullum, is likely to be the same as well, for Gujarat Lions.

GL’s probable playing XI vs KXIP: 1. Suresh Raina (c), 2. Aaron Finch, 3. Brendon McCullum, 4. Dinesh Karthik (wk), 5. Ishan Kishan, 6. Dwayne Smith/Dwayne Bravo, 7. Ravindra Jadeja, 8. James Faulkner, 9. Praveen Kumar, 10. Basil Thampi, and 11. Dhawal Kulkarni

Actual playing XI for Gujarat: 1. Suresh Raina (c), 2. Aaron Finch, 3. Brendon McCullum, 4. Dinesh Karthik (wk), 5. Shubham Agarwal, 6. Dwayne Smith, 7. Ravindra Jadeja, 8. Andrew Tye, 9. Nathu Singh, 10. Basil Thampi, and 11. Akshdeep Nath

Update: Dwayne Bravo, Suresh Raina announced at the toss, will play no part in IPL 2017. A huge loss!

Kings XI continue to have selection headaches. When they bolstered their batting line-up, the bowling attack let them down badly. When they opted to not strengthen the batting, the bowling still let the team down. We have for long talked about Kings XI having to include Matt Henry in their playing XI and I think the time has come for this evening’s visitors at the SCA Stadium to finally provide life to their bowling attack by including the Kiwi seamer.

But this isn’t an easy decision. Because, which overseas player do you leave out to bring in Henry?

The four overseas players for Kings XI against Mumbai were Hashim Amla, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, and Marcus Stoinis. Henry, in my opinion, can replace Stoinis, who hasn’t contributed with the bat so far. And, sacrificing an all-rounder (Stoinis) will mean that the batting mainstays retain their place and look to continue from where they left off against Mumbai.

Manan Vohra missed KXIP’s last match because of illness. So, in case he has recovered, Vohra should come in place of left-arm spinner Swapnil Singh and open the batting alongside Amla.

Here’s what I believe will be Kings XI’s playing XI vs GL: 1. Glenn Maxwell (c), 2. Hashim Amla, 3. Manan Vohra, 4. Shaun Marsh, 5. Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 6. Gurkeerat Singh Mann, 7. Axar Patel, 8. Mohit Sharma, 9. Ishant Sharma, 10. Sandeep Sharma, and 11. Matt Henry

Actual playing XI for Kings XI: 1. Glenn Maxwell (c), 2. Hashim Amla, 3. Manan Vohra, 4. Shaun Marsh, 5. Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 6. KC Cariappa, 7. Axar Patel, 8. Mohit Sharma, 9. Thangarasu Natarajan, 10. Sandeep Sharma, and 11. Marcus Stoinis

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