High-flying Gujarat Lions take on Mumbai Indians in IPL tie

Mumbai, April 15 (IANS) Pumped up after back-to-back wins in their debut season, a positive Gujarat Lions will aim to extend their winning steak when they take on hosts Mumbai Indians in an Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter at the Wankhede Stadium here on Saturday.

Gujarat, the newcomers in the IPL family, defeated Kings XI Punjab by five wickets followed by a comfortable victory over Rising Pune Supergiants by seven wickets on Thursday and now sit on top of the points table.

While Mumbai after losing to Pune in the tournament opener, the side came back strongly with an all-round show to thrash Kolkata Knight Riders by six wickets on Wednesday and are currently placed in the fifth spot in the table.

But on Saturday, it will be a fresh start for both the sides and Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai will look to take advantage of the home conditions and halt Gujarat’s winning streak.

Mumbai will miss their star batsman Lendl Simmons, who was ruled out of the rest of the tournament due to lower back injury. New Zealand’s Martin Guptill who went unsold in the cash-rich T20 league auction will come as a replacement for the West Indian.

But with Rohit and his opening partner Parthiv Patil giving a good start to the side against KKR and in-form hard-hitter Jos Buttler, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Ambati Rayudu to follow, the batting line-up looks strong on paper.

Kiwi pacer Tim Southee will lead the bowling attack alongside his compatriot Mitchell McClenaghan and India’s promising young gun Jasprit Bumrah. Experienced off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and youngster Jagadeesha Suchith will form the spin duo for the side.

On the other hand, Gujarat Lions will depend on their swashbuckling openers Aaron Finch and Brendon McCullum to do the job at the start.

Finch with 124 runs in two matches is the leading run scorer and the Australian will aim to pile on some more runs under his belt against Mumbai.

With skipper Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik and all-rounders Dwayne Bravo, James Faulkner, Ravindra Jadeja later on in the batting line-up, the side has the depth to topple any bowling attack like they did in the past two matches.

Experienced Praveen Kumar, Faulkner and Bravo with his variations and slower balls make a formidable bowling unit. Bravo leads the leading wicket-taker chart with five victims. Jadeja will lead the spin department alongside Pravin Tambe and Shadab Jakati.

With two wins under their belt from as many matches and keeping in mind their current form, the visitors will surely have the upper hand when they take the field against Mumbai on Saturday.

The squads:

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Harbhajan Singh, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Jos Buttler, Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson, Lasith Malinga, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Marchant de Lange, Tim Southee, Unmukt Chand, Vinay Kumar, Parthiv Patel, Shreyas Gopal, Nathu Singh, Jagadeesha Suchith, Ambati Rayudu, Akshay Wakhare, Deepak Punia, Jitesh Sharma, Kishore Kamath, Krunal Pandya, Nitish Rana, Siddhesh Lad.

Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (captain), Sarabjit Ladda, Akshdeep Nath, Amit Mishra, Dwayne Bravo, Paras Dogra, Eklavya Dwivedi, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, Dinesh Karthik, Shivil Kaushik, Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar, Brendon McCullum, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaydev Shah, Umang Sharma, Dwayne Smith, Dale Steyn, Pravin Tambe, Andrew Tye.

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