The Gujarat Lions (GL) will eye their fourth straight win in their maiden IPL campaign, when they host Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) side in Rajkot on Thursday. The Suresh Raina-led franchise have been one of the best teams in IPL 2016 so far.
SRH will be rejuvenated after registering their first win of the season, over the defending champions Mumbai Indians. But, David Warner's team will have to be at their best to outshine the upbeat Gujarat Lions.
Ravindra Jadeja is set to make his way back into the playing XI after missing the last game for his wedding That will further bolster the Gujarat Lions team lineup against the Sunrisers.
Raina has very little to worry about at the top of the batting lineup, as Aaron Finch and Brendon McCullum have been in good touch, especially the former, who has scored three half-centuries in three games.
Finch's hamstring, though, could be a cause for concern for the Gujarat Lions. He seemed to tweak his hamstring during the run chase against the Mumbai Indians. If Finch is not fit in time, Dwayne Smith will be the obvious replacement.
No batsman has scored four fifties in a row in the IPL, and Finch, if he plays, will look to own that record with another brilliang innings.
Meanwhile, Warner will be worried about the form of Shikhar Dhawan, who has scored just 16 runs in three matches. The left-handed batsman from Delhi has been in awful form for quite some time now and he needs to start scoring as soon as possible or he is going to lose his place in the side. Dhawan will probably get another game or two to prove his worth.
Another issue that has hurt SRH is that their spinners are yet to take a wicket in IPL 2016. Legspinner Karn Sharma needs to step up to the occasion as he is the best option the team have.
Moises Henriques has been ordinary in IPL 2016 as well. The Australian has scored at less than run-a-ball in all the three innings he has played so far and is yet to pick up a wicket this season. Warner might turn to Ben Cutting, who had a decent season with the Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League, earlier this year.
Sunrisers could make a couple of changes to their team. Warner might bring in Cutting in place of Henriques and Karn in place of Bipul. The Lions on the other hand will definitely make one change as Jadeja will return to the playing XI. Dale Steyn bowled for quite some time in the nets. But he is likely to sit out this game against SRH as well.
Gujarat Lions: Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina (C), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Dwayne Bravo, Akshdeep Nath, James Faulkner, Ravindra Jadeja, Praveen Kumar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Pravin Tambe.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Eoin Morgan, Deepak Hooda, Naman Ojha (wk), Ashish Reddy, Ben Cutting, Karn Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mustafizur Rahman, Barinder Sran.