Pride at stake as Gujarat hosts Delhi Daredevils

With the squad for the Champions Trophy also named, neither team or players have anything at stake and the best the fans could hope for would be enough entertainment to make it worth it.

James Faulkner of the Gujarat Lions seen chatting with Rahul Dravid, coach Delhi Daredevils.   -  Sportzpics

With no chances of advancing past the group stage for either team, Gujarat Lions would be looking at best to improve its position on the leaderboard when it takes on Delhi Daredevils in its penultimate IPL game here on Wednesday.

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The Green Park Stadium here is the alternate home ground for Gujarat and would be hosting the first of its two games here. It would also be the penultimate IPL game for the venue with the franchise most likely ceasing to exist – at least in its current form – after this edition. With the squad for the Champions Trophy also named, neither team or players have anything at stake and the best the fans could hope for would be enough entertainment to make it worth it.

Their hopes would be raised by the fact that the last time the two teams met, it was a barrage of sixes and fours from both sides. It was the game that saw Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant make a mockery of Gujarat's massive 209-run target after Suresh Raina lucked out with three lives during his blistering innings. But while Gujarat went on to redeem itself with a victory in the next game and exchange spots with Delhi on the table – it is sixth now despite the same number of points – after DD embarrassingly collapsed against Mumbai Indians. As such, it would also be a battle for pride and redemption for the Zaheer Khan-led side of youngsters.

The teams are also suffering from loss of their key players for various reasons. Delhi's best bowler in that previous face-off was Kagiso Rabada. He, along with Chris Morris, has returned for national duty. Pat Cummins was thrashed all around the ground by Mumbai. Delhi batting, barring Samson and Pant and, to some extent Corey Anderson, has fallen flat through the season. Marlon Samuels was drafted in way too late and is yet to find form.

The problem is more acute for Gujarat that only has four overseas players eligible and remaining after Brendon McCullum joined the injured list with a pulled hamstring in the previous game against Kings XI Punjab. If the team does decide to field its full complement of foreign players, Chirag Suri could create history as the first UAE player to figure in the IPL.

As such, captain Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja along with Ishan Kishan would have to shoulder most of the batting. The bowling unit of Basil Thampi, Pradeep Sangwan, Dhawal Kulkarni, Ankit Soni, Nathu Singh, Irfan Pathan and Praveen Kumar, along with James Faulker, has failed to get the results, though Thampi has been impressive enough to be one of only two Gujarat bowlers to take 10 wickets or more, the other being Andrew Tye whose absence has affected the team the most.

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