Yuvraj-strong Sunrisers to take on faltering Lions

Although Gujarat Lions occupies the second slot in the IPL points table, it is on a downward slide having suffered two back-to-back losses, something Sunrisers Hyderabad will aim to capitalise on with Yuvraj Singh in its ranks, in the upcoming encounter between the teams in Hyderabad.

Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody has indicated that Yuvraj Singh will likely feature against Gujarat Lions.   -  K. V. S. Giri

The face-off between two teams, one up there in the points table and the other aspiring to get there, is bound to have some high-octane action, as will be the case when Gujarat Lions (GL) takes on Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the Rajiv Gandhi international stadium here on Friday.

"Yuvraj (Singh) is available and very much in our thoughts," was all that SRH coach Tom Moody would say on the eve of the contest. With a good five-day break from its last match on Saturday, was the Sunrisers following the other teams? "We’ve watched all the matches but there’s no point worrying about what other teams are doing," said the strapping Australian.

On linguistic barriers between the team and Mustafizur Rahman, Moody said, "He has fitted into the team well and the group has warmed up to him. He’s a funny guy. He’s not fluent in English and nor are we in Bengali. But cricket is a universal language."

As with most teams, Lions’ top trio was the major threat, Moody believed. “No doubt about it and we are prepared for it, especially after playing well against them last time. They’ve got match winners too,” he added as a footnote of caution.

Moody indicated that his own team's match winner in Yuvraj Singh will likely feature in the playing XI. “It’s not difficult to accommodate a match winner. He adds a lot to the side. Yuvi brings a lot of versatility to the team,” he stressed.

'Tough games'

SRH will play a team that has tasted success in large phases in the IPL this season, but one which has suffered back-to-back defeats. Gujarat Lions wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik, reflecting on those losses, admitted his team had not batted well. “They were two tough games. We batted poorly. And batting is our obvious strength. It is important not to change too much in the face of setbacks,” he observed.

Since momentum mattered so much in this tournament, were the two defeats hard to take? “It is difficult to regroup after two losses. It has got the boys together and we are working on correcting the mistakes,” he said.

Karthik was honest about what expertise he offered to the team. “My experience helps when it comes to consistency, especially in knowing how to react to certain situations.” On whether the sweep was his go-to shot, the swashbuckler said, “It depends on the bowler and situation. I try to be instinctive and not to be too programmed. It’s a love-hate relationship with the sweep.”

He was confident about the form of his teammates. “Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) has got runs for us. It’s only a matter of time before (Dwayne) Bravo gets going.”

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