Gujarat Lions and Royal Challengers Bangalore will be under pressure to stop their losing streak as we move close to the midway stage in IPL 2017 when they meet at Rajkot on Tuesday, April 18.
Can Lions find a win somewhere or somehow? RCB also need to get into winning ways. Who will come out on top?
It isn’t yet desperation stage for Lions but is close to getting there. With just one win out of four games, Gujarat are closer to the wooden spoon than play-off places. They were thumped by Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the first two matches where they could pick up just one wicket.
Lions did win against Rising Pune Supergiants that was as much about Andrew Tye’s bowling as about the runs by Brendon McCullum at the top. But whatever little positivity that win could muster was all lost when they went down to Mumbai Indians on Sunday.
Gujarat are trying every bit to find a scoring partner for Brendon McCullum. It may well be time to add James Faulkner to the mix that would solve the other half of their problems – bowling.
Bangalore find themselves mired in the cluster of mid-table teams with one win from five matches after going down by 27 to Pune on Sunday. Truth be told, they missed their best players – Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers – in the initial stretch due to injuries.
Royal Challengers lost to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the season opener and then made amends by winning against Delhi Daredevils. But losses to Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians and Pune meant that their season hasn’t yet started.
Kohli has come back from injury as if he’s not away from action while AB arguably is the best batsman of this format, if not all formats. Bowling remains a concern though as Shane Watson isn’t able to justify his all-rounder tag with the ball.
The form of his domestic players with both bat and ball is a concern for Suresh Raina. But replacing Dwayne Smith with Faulkner may ease the burden. That could mean warming the bench for Praveen Kumar or Basil Thampi.
Bangalore still aren’t sure who to choose between Shane Watson and Chris Gayle. Adam Milne did really well coming as replacement for the indisposed Tymal Mills but can he keep his place even if Mills is fit.
Last season, they shared the spoils with one win each – at home ground – with Kohli scoring a century in both the games.
Both sides are near desperate levels to start picking wins. Does that make this a four-pointer? The Lions are outsiders to win the tie at odds of $2.10 (Sportsbet
) while Bangalore are favorites for the win despite their indifferent form, and are tipped to edge it at odds of $1.80 (bet365
Kohli ran riot in both the matches against the Lions last year and should top the batting charts once again. Back him to be their best batsman at odds of $3.00 (Unibet
Both sides have top six-hitters and that makes this game very interesting. Lions could just pip Royal Challengers to the post of top sixes. Odds being offered are $2.40 (Sportsbet