An ankle injury kept him out for over a month, but the sight of Yuvraj Singh batting and bowled smoothly in the nets means that he is set to make his debut in IPL 2016 when Sunrisers Hyderabad host the Gujarat Lions. The last time these two sides met, Sunrisers made a mockery of Lions’ target of 135, achieving it in inside 15 overs and without losing a wicket, which handed Lions’ their first loss.
Though that win was the beginning of an upward climb for the Sunrisers, a gap of almost a week has pushed them to No. 5 in the rankings. And as relaxing as it could have been for them, David Warner and Co. will need to get back to business soon with the Playoffs spot up for grabs. The good news for them though is the return of Yuvraj, which will provide a shot in the armour for their middle order.
Barring Warner – 386 runs in seven matches at an average and strike rate of 77.20 and 168.55 – no one else has really got going. Kane Williamson’s half-century in the previous game was a timely knock, and Yuvraj’s addition will only make things easier. On the other hand, the Lions seem to have all bases covered, and a win here will slot them back over KKR. To a certain extent, their batting has a few issues to address as well. Their performance in the Powerplay has been underwhelming, which Lions’ coach Brad Hodge brought to the fore.
Expect the in-form Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mustafizur Rahman to made early inroads if Lions persist with the issue. Aaron Finch has not looked the same batsman since his hamstring injury. Dwayne Smith has got going at the top, but he needs more support. Only Dinesh Karthik cannot be providing that. That Ravindra Jadeja got a notable score will give Lions hope.
Venue: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad
Date: May 06, 2016
Time: 20:00 IST
Weather: Seasonal rains hit Hyderabad on Monday and is expected to continue till the weekend. Hence, chances of showers are quite high
Yuvraj’s return will likely come at the expense of Deepak Hooda, who has a poor tally of 69 runs in seven matches. There may also be the inkling to bring in left-arm spinner Bipul Sharma or legspinner Karn Sharma to add some variation to their bowling. Ashish Reddy hasn’t looked threatening and that might make the equation easier.
Probable XI: 1 David Warner (capt), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Yuvraj Singh/Deepak Hooda, 5 Naman Ojha (wk), 6 Moises Henriques, 7 Ashish Reddy/Bipul Sharma/Karn Sharma, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Barinder Sran 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Ashish Nehra
Dwayne Bravo had been under an injury cloud – he missed Lions’ previous game against Delhi Daredevils – but considering he participated actively during the nets, he may have recovered in time for the clash. If Bravo is fit, he is likely to replace either Smith or Finch. Another spot that Lions may want to alter is that of Ishan Kishan has been far from promising. Akshdeep Nath seems the likely replacement.
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