Gujarat Lions will want to continue leading the points table with yet another win against Delhi Daredevils © AFP
Gujarat Lions will want to continue leading the points table with yet another win against Delhi Daredevils © AFP

Gujarat Lions (GL) are to set to hosts confident Delhi Daredevils (DD) in Match 31 of IPL 2016 at Rajkot. Both teams are almost at the same level and this could be anyone’s game. GL are resting well on top of the table with 12 points as for Delhi, they are slowly marching towards the top with 8 points in their kitty. GL were overpowered to a defeat at their home ground against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP),  where Akshar Patel stole the show with his hat-trick, first one in this edition of IPL. Looking at the way GL performed in the previous game, they would surely settle for the same side. Here is the probable XI for GL as they take on DD. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Gujarat Lions vs Delhi Daredevils, IPL 2016, Match 31 at Rajkot

Top-Order: GL are happy with their top-order especially after Dwayne Smith coming along very well replacing Aaron Finch, he has been solid base in all the games till date in this edition. Smith and Brendon McCullum have complimented each other well. There previous outing between these teams saw a crackling game from the opening pair with Smith securing 53 and McCullum’s knock of 60. In case the top order fails at crucial time, skipper Suresh Raina covers it up just in time. The major chuck of the runs for GL  depend on these key players.

Middle-Order: Considering the previous game of GL, it was the middle-order that got the trick done. Top-order crashed and burned against KXIP but in their earlier game against DD , the top-order played a major role in their win. Dinesh Karthik has been valuable, contributing  30-40 runs in most of the games, which has been enough to keep the momentum going. Ravindra Jadeja could be fiery with his batting skills when needed, though that moment is yet to be witnessed in this season. As for Dwayne Bravo, the all-rounder is an hard-hitter although known for his bowling skills so far in IPL 9 he would want to bat well. Bravo managed to scalp just the wicket of JP Duminy against DD in the first game.

James Faulkner can get a call to bat up the order, after his crucial 32 off 27, which included 4-fours in the last match.  Complimenting him well was India U-19 skipper Ishan Kishan. All in all the middle-order can be the cover if the top-order breaks. ALSO READ: Gujarat Lions vs Delhi Daredevils, IPL 2016, Match 31 at Rajkot: GL look to secure place in playoffs

Bowling Unit: The previous game between these teams, Dhawal Kulkarni shined with the ball, achieved figures of 3 for 19 in 4 overs. Kulkarni picked crucial wickets of top-order batsmen like Karun Nair, Quinton de Kock and Sanju Samson. If he can he repeat that once again he will a key player to watch out for. The next in line is Praveen Kumar, who was the most economical bowler against DD conceding just 13 from 4, though was unlucky not to get any wickets. Kumar proves to be handy especially in the death overs. Faulkner has been handed over just 1 or 2 overs in most of the games, so his talent with the ball is yet to be seen.

Spinners is what GL thrives on if the pacers are unable to get hold of their targets. DD did rip apart their spinners in the previous match with Pravin Tambe giving away 17 from 1 and Ravindra Jadeja 14 from 1. Bringing the chinaman bowler Shivil Kaushik has been a boon for GL. Kaushik with his ‘Paul Adams’ style bowling managed to grab 3 for 20 in 4 in the last match for DD. This could be a different style of spin DD will have to come across.

Gujarat Lions Likely XI (Batting Order): Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Ishan Kishan, James Faulkner, Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar, Shivil Kaushik.

(Shruti Hariharan is a Content Writer with CricketCountry. You can follow her on Twitter at @Shruti_2890)