A consistent Gujarat Lions faces a struggling Royal Challengers Bangalore here on Saturday. While Lions is sitting pretty in second-place, Royal Challengers lies sixth. The home side is on the brink of elimination, and needs to put together a stirring run from here on to stand a chance of making the cut.
Lions, having won seven of eleven fixtures, is in a far more comfortable position. The top-order of Aaron Finch, Dinesh Karthik and skipper Suresh Raina have all come good, while the bowling is led by the dependable pace duo of Dhawal Kulkarni and Dwayne Bravo. The franchise - which recorded a convincing five-wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders, in its previous fixture - takes the field after a well-deserved five-day rest.
The team, however, is likely to miss the services of captain Suresh Raina, who has left the squad to join his wife. The couple are expecting their first child. Coach Brad Hodge stated that Brendon McCullum will call the shots in Raina's absence.
"Not having Raina in the eleven is a big blow. We were hopeful that he could fly in and join us in time for this match, but we just received news that it is pretty unlikely. Having said that, we have match-winners like Karthik, Finch, Bravo and Dwayne Smith who can step up. There are plenty of batsmen who would like to come in at number three here, as this is one of the best batting wickets in the country," Hodge said on Friday.
For Royal Challengers, the six-wicket loss to Mumbai Indians on Wednesday - this snapped a two-game winning mini-streak - came as a setback. Just as the players began to slide down the escape chute, the doors were shut by Mumbai at the other end.
Leggie Yuzvendra Chahal explained that the bowling unit needs to do a better job in the death overs. "We've been giving away too many runs in the last four overs. Only Shane Watson has been bowling well at the death. If we bowl well in the final stages, we will win."
- India vs England Live Score, 4th Test Day 2: Root century helps ENG reach 302/7; Robinson unbeaten at 31
- Ranji Trophy Live Score 2024 Quarterfinals Day 2 Updates: Jagadeesan, Sai Kishore hold key for Tamil Nadu vs Saurashtra
- Valencia match postponed after deadly city fire
- Inter Miami completes signing of midfielder Federico Redondo
- Barcelona has not given up hope of winning successive LaLiga titles, says coach Xavi