One team with an obviously powerful batting lineup, the other with a bowling attack the envy of most IPL sides. So, on paper, the Qualifier 2 between the Gujarat Lions and the Sunrisers Hyderabad looks like being about GL's batting vs SRH's bowling.
However, it will be far from a surprise if it ends up being a contest between GL's bowlers and SRH's batsmen, such is the unpredictable nature of the IPL.
But, nevertheless, here goes a prediction of how GL vs SRH could transpire at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi on Friday.
If GL bat first: Brendon McCullum is due a big score and this is the match where he finally finds that rhythm for a sustained period of time. Aaron Finch, however, departs early to an in-swinger from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, but McCullum and Raina put on a 56-run partnership, before the Gujarat Lions skipper also is dismissed, this time by Bipul Sharma. McCullum, however, looks determined to stay the course, and with Dinesh Karthik giving him good company at the other end, GL race to 120 at the end of 14 overs. With six overs to go, a minimum of 60 runs looks guaranteed, even more if McCullum stays, and while Karthik, Dwayne Smith and Dwayne Bravo fall at the other end, the New Zealand continues his assault, with Ravindra Jadeja chipping in with a nice little 20 as well to take GL to 189.
David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan start well, scoring 54 runs in the Powerplay, and that opening partnership goes all the way to 71, before Warner is picked up by Jadeja. Dhawan falls a couple of overs later, also to Jadeja, leaving the brittle SRH middle order to do the chasing business. Yuvraj and Moises Henriques build a 40-run partnership, but a double wicket over, which sees them both dismissed, ends all hopes of an SRH chase, with Deepak Hooda, Naman Ojha and Ben Cutting unable to do enough.
If SRH bat first: Dhawan is dismissed in the second over by Dhawal Kulkarni, while Henriques goes in the next over to leave SRH in a spot of bother in the Powerplay. Warner, however, plays it smart, playing percentage cricket, while also finding the boundaries to rebuild the innings with Yuvraj. The two left-handers forge a 91-run partnership, with Yuvraj then dismissed by Jadeja. There is no stopping Warner, though, as the SRH skipper hits top gear in the final five overs, getting to his century as well in the process, as the Sunrisers, with a little help from Hooda, reach 193.
The reply from GL starts brilliantly well, with McCullum and Finch scoring boundaries and sixes for fun. Bhuvneshwar and Sran are hit for plenty, forcing Warner to bring Mustafizur Rahman on in the fourth over of the innings, in the hope of picking up a wicket. The Bangladesh bowler does not let his captain down, bamboozling McCullum with a slower one, before Raina departs to a short ball. Finch, though, is strong at the other end, and while Karthik also falls for 13, there is an in-form Smith to give the Australian good company. The two put on a big partnership, taking the equation down to 45 from four overs. This is when Mustafizur come to the party again, with the left-armer, not just breaking the partnership, but picking up both the settled batsmen, to snuff out GL's chances of making the IPL 2016 final.