IPL: All eyes on Yuvraj as Sunrisers take on Lions

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Hyderabad, May 5 (IANS) All eyes will be on star all-rounder Yuvraj Singh when Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) take on struggling Gujarat Lions in an Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here on Friday.

After losing two consecutive games to laggards Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils respectively, the Suresh Raina-led Gujarat franchise, which made a promising debut in the cash-rich tournament, would aim for a turnaround in fortunes.

On the other hand, the home crowd will be eager to see Yuvraj in the playing XI. The Punjab southpaw is yet to feature in this year’s IPL, being ruled out after suffering an injury in the World Twenty20 match against Australia.

The hosts are coming off a 15-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore. However, despite losses in the last two games, the Lions are placed second in the points table with six wins from nine outings, while the David Warner-led side are at the fifth spot with four victories.

SRH also enjoy a psychological advantage as they won against Gujarat Lions by a comprehensive 10 wickets in their previous meeting on April 21.

Going into Friday’s encounter, the home side will bank on yet another start from their skipper Warner, who has been prolific with the bat at the top. His opening partner Shikhar Dhawan also came up with substantial scores after being out of form initially.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, who came back to the side after recovering from an injury, was also amongst runs, scoring a valuable 50 off 38 balls in the match against RCB.

The inclusion of Yuvraj will only bolster the impressive middle order comprising Moises Henriques, Naman Ojha and Deepak Hooda.

In the bowling department, Sunrisers can boast of seasoned Ashish Nehra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mustafizur Rahman and Henriques in their ranks.

On the other hand, the visitors will largely depend on the opening combo of Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith. Skipper Raina and keeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik have also been in good nick but their main concern will be the batting form of all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo.

Bravo is likely to return to the side after missing the last encounter due to an injury with Aaron Finch making way.

On the bowling front, the Lions would hope their chinaman bowler Shivil Kaushik will retain his impressive run while pacers seamers Dhawal Kulkarni and Praveen Kumar get the initial breakthroughs.

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