Gujarat seeks to extend unbeaten run against Hyderabad

Thursday’s match could turn out to be an eyesore of sorts for the viewer. Both teams have more than a generous offering of orange in their jerseys.

Ravindra Jadeja will be seen back in action after his marriage, for which he missed the two previous matches.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

If a team can afford to let Dale Steyn and Dwayne Smith warm the bench, then you know it has an embarrassment of riches. Amazingly enough, that’s the kind of cruise ship Gujarat Lions finds itself in. With three wins in as many games, all engineered by a newfound ‘chase master’ in Aaron Finch, the IPL debutant is on a roll. And, with local hero Ravindra Jadeja back in the mix after his nuptials, the ‘roar’ could only get louder when Suresh Raina and co. take on Sunrisers Hyderabad here on Thursday.

Situated in the middle of nowhere, the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium has metamorphosed into a valley of colours. Replete with a canopy cover reminiscent of the Adelaide Oval and a media centre inspired by the spaceship at Lord’s, the airy venue is well known for the batting beauties it dishes out season after season. And, given that dew wasn’t a factor here last week, it would only be prudent to expect a run feast.

The Finch factor

Finch has, quite clearly, cracked the code as far as pacing his innings in the IPL is concerned. That he has pocketed three back-to-back man of the match awards is testimony to this fact. The other night, even cramps could not stop him from powering the Lions to victory over Mumbai Indians. With scores of 74, 50 and unbeaten 67, he is a man in some form and hurry.

However, Finch’s rhythm can be stalled by his Australian team-mate and rival skipper David Warner, who will surely have a trick or two up his sleeve to upset the Lions’ opener. How he utilises the swing of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the yorkers of Mustafizur Rahman and the leg-spin of Karn Sharma to negate the threat posed by Finch remains to be seen.

Sunrisers seek consistency

After being thumped by Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders in the space of four days, Sunrisers Hyderabad fought back gallantly to put it past Mumbai Indians. A disciplined performance from its bowlers, mainly Brainder Sran, helped restrict Mumbai to 142 for six. The chase was masterminded by Warner, who eased his way to an unbeaten 90. But, in order to upset the applecart of Gujarat Lions, Sunrisers Hyderabad will have to be consistently good.

Fun fact

Thursday’s match could turn out to be an eyesore of sorts for the viewer. Both teams have more than a generous offering of orange in their jerseys.

Squads:

Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (capt.), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, James Faulkner, Brendon McCullum, Praveen Kumar, Dale Steyn, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Dwayne Smith, Dhawal Kulkarni, Aaron Finch, Eklavya Dwivedi, Andrew Tye, Ishan Kishan, Jaydev Shah, Shadab Jakati, Pravin Tambe, Pradeep Sangwan, Amit Mishra, Shivil Kaushik, Aksh Deep Nath, Sarabjeet Ladda, Umang Sharma, Paras Dogra.

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Ashish Reddy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Bipul Sharma, Karn Sharma, K.L. Rahul, Naman Ojha (wk), Parvez Rasool, Ricky Bhui, Shikhar Dhawan, Siddharth Kaul, David Warner (capt.), Moises Henriques, Eoin Morgan, Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Yuvraj Singh, Ashish Nehra, Deepak Hooda, Mustafizur Rahman, Aditya Tare (wk), Brainder Sran, Ben Cutting, Vijay Shankar, Abhimanyu Mithun, Tirumalasetti Suman.

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