Sunrisers Hyderabad (above) are coming off a 15-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore © AFP
Sunrisers Hyderabad (above) are coming off a 15-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore © AFP

By S Janakiram

Hyderabad: Smarting from back-to-back reverses, Gujarat Lions (GL) will have their task cut out when they lock horns with Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) who are expecting their star all-rounder Yuvraj Singh to feature in the playing XI, in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Friday. Yuvraj is yet to play in a single game this IPL since being ruled out after suffering an injury in the World T20 match against Australia. Yuvraj had earlier hoped to join the team for the match tomorrow and he is already in the city. Starting with a string of victories, Gujarat Lions have hit a roadblock as they suffered defeats at the hands of laggards Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils in their last two outings at home. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Gujarat Lions, IPL 2016, Match 34 at Hyderabad 

The debutants would hope playing away from home would bring some luck as the Suresh Raina-led side seek to revive its campaign. Sunrisers Hyderabad 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 appearances, while Sunrisers Hyderabad are occupying the fifth position with four victories.

SRH enjoy a psychological advantage as they won against Gujarat Lions by a comprehensive 10 wickets in their previous meeting on April 21. After suffering early setbacks, Sunrisers Hyderabad made a quick turnaround with both their batting and bowling clicking together. Captain David Warner has been one of the top run getters in the tournament and his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan also came up with substantial scores after being out of form initially. SRH vs GL, IPL 2016, Preview: GL aim to avenge defeat

Warner’s superb 92 off 50 balls led SRH to victory in their last match against RCB. Kane Williamson, skipper of New Zealand team, joined the side after recovering from an injury. He announced his arrival with a valuable 50 off 38 balls in the match against RCB. The middle-order comprising Moises Henriques, Naman Ojha and Deepak Hooda, have been impressive. Henriques’ unbeaten knock of 31 in 14 balls went a long way in helping the team in its last outing.

The home team would be bolstered further if Yuvraj is available for the match. Sunrisers have quality bowlers in their ranks in seasoned Ashish Nehra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mustafizur Rahman and Henriques. The Lions have 12 points from nine matches, having won six and lost three. Gujarat Lions’ batting has mostly revolved around explosive openers Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith. When the duo clicked, the Lions scored big.

Raina and Dinesh Karthik made useful contributions in the middle-order even though they failed in the match against Kings XI Punjab. The batting form of all-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja remains a cause for concern, but the side should be pleased with Jadeja’s unbeaten 36 in their last match. Karthik’s 53 against Daredevils was also good news for the team. On the bowling front, seamers Dhawal Kulkarni and Praveen Kumar have been doing their bit upfront, while left-arm chinaman bowler Shivil Kaushik was impressive against Kings XI Punjab.