Gujarat Lions (GL) will target four wins in four when they host the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in Match 15 of IPL 2016 in Rajkot on Thursday. The Lions have been one of the most entertaining teams this season, finding their rhythm right off the bat to set the early pace in the tournament.
Suresh Raina will know momentum is a fickle thing in the IPL – one moment it is on your side, the other it flies far away, never to return. So, the important aspect for GL will be to keep the momentum and ensure they do not throw away the early advantage they have created in IPL 2016.
The keys to their three victories so far have been solid bowling and Aaron Finch's batting. For three matches in a row, Finch has played match-winning knocks, which is why it will be a big blow if the Australian is ruled out for this match with a hamstring injury, picked up during the chase against the Mumbai Indians last Saturday.
While Finch will be a big loss, the Gujarat Lions do have a readymade replacement in Dwayne Smith, which just goes to show how strong their squad is. Smith will hope to renew his CSK partnership with Brendon McCullum at the top of the innings, if Finch fails to get fit in time.
Apart from that injury worry, though, the Gujarat Lions are a pretty happy team going in to this match against SRH, with those smiles probably growing even wider when the newly-married Ravindra Jadeja returns to action.
There were a few smiles in the SRH camp after their last match, after the bowlers and David Warner inspired the Sunrisers Hyderabad to their first win of IPL 2016. While that win over MI was pretty impressive, question marks still remain over the SRH team makeup, particularly the fact that they still seem to rely a little too much on Warner when it comes to the batting.
The injuries to Yuvraj Singh and Kane Williamson have not helped, but until those two return, it is up to the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Eoin Morgan and Moises Henriques to chip in and contribute to help reduce the burden on Warner. Dhawan, in particular, will be under pressure to perform, after three straight failures in IPL 2016.
"Warner is in fantastic form and he is a sensational player," SRH team mentor VVS Laxman was quoted as saying by IPL's official website. "It is not only about playing a big knock. Finishing the task is very important, the way he did against Mumbai Indians.
"That will be an example for the other batsmen as well to stand up. I was very impressed with the way Deepak Hooda played in the last game. Luckily, this year we have some really talented domestic players.
"The middle-order was under pressure in the first two games; against KKR we lost quick early wickets and we had to chase 220-odd against RCB. But I am pleased with the potential we have in the middle-order and the overall depth in our batting."
That SRH batting will certainly be put to the test by the Gujarat Lions bowlers.
Where to Watch Live
Match 15 of IPL 2016 is scheduled for an 8 p.m. IST (3.30 p.m. BST, 10.30 a.m. ET) start, with Live coverage of the match on TV in Indian on Sony Six, Sony Six HD, Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD and Sony Max. Hotstar and Starsports.com will provide the online live streaming options for the match between GL and SRH.
Viewers in the US can watch Gujarat Lions vs Sunrisers Hyderabad live on ESPN, while the game can also be live streamed on Watch ESPN.
Sportsnet and Watch Sportsnet will provide live coverage of the IPL 2016 game in Canada.
OSN Sports Cricket is the place to be to watch the IPL 2016 match live in the Middle East and North Africa, while the action can also be live streamed on OSN Cricket Play.
Supersport and Supersport Live Video will give the audience in South Africa and Sub Sahran Africa an option to watch the match live on TV or online.
Viewers from across the world can also watch GL play SRH by live on Cricketgateway.