Gujarat Lions will want to continue their winning edge against Royal Challengers Bangalore © AFP
Gujarat Lions will want to continue their winning edge against Royal Challengers Bangalore © AFP

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) are set to host Gujarat Lions (GL) for Match 44 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 at Bengaluru on Sunday. GL maybe just a win away from entering their first-ever playoffs, although the scenario is not that easy with GL’s net run-rate still pretty poor which could mean that they might have to win two more to guarantee themselves the spot. As for RCB, they are still searching for ways to make it to the playoffs. Every match here on becomes a do or die situation for Virat Kohli and Co. After a shaky start to their IPL 2016 campaign, RCB were moving ahead with win in every game, although a disappointing defeat against Mumbai Indians (MI) has made the situation slightly tough. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Gujarat Lions, IPL 2016, Match 44 at Bengaluru

Chris Gayle’s entry didn’t go the way RCB would have desired to begin with but having him in the playing XI could do wonders in the upcoming must-win clash. Kohli struggled in the previous two outings after a thrilling second century and this could be a matter for concern for his side as well. Not to forget Kohli achieved his maiden T20 ton against GL in the previous outing. The way KL Rahul, AB de Villiers and Shane Watson have made it up for the top-order, shows the batting prowess that RCB possesses. The bowling department seems to be dependent on the spin attack especially with the way Yuzvendra Chahal proved to be economical against MI with a wicket. Varun Aaron also proved to be expensive against MI yet those crucial wickets of Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu against MI, could be the reasons for retaining his place in playing XI.

Chris Jordan failed to make any impact in his debut match for RCB so Tabraiz Shamsi’s inclusion in the team in place of Jordan could be on the cards. Apart from boosting the middle-order with his hard-hitting skills, Watson has been pretty good with the ball as well getting wickets occasionally. Seamer Stuart Binny, who was terrific with his breathtaking catch of Nitish Rana thereby providing the perfect start in the first over against MI, will be yet another bowler to watch out for.

As for GL, missing out on Suresh Raina at the top-order could be a blow at this crucial moment. The top three batsmen— Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum and Aaron Finch— might have not given the perfect start against Delhi Daredevils (DD) earlier, this time around they can be the early run-getters for GL. Ishan Kishan could be back in the squad in place of Raina and knowing the partnership he built along with James Faulkner against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the middle, shows the talent the youngster can provide alongside Dinesh Karthik or Dwayne Bravo or Faulkner.

As for the bowling display, Praveen Kumar’s experience comes handy among the fast bowlers with likes of Dhawal Kulkarni. Smith also bagged a wicket in the previous match against KKR showing his bowling skills. Bravo’s death bowling skills will be the key to success for GL. Kulkarni’s consistency will be the crucial against RCB’s top batsmen. Spin attack is ruled with Ravindra Jadeja while Shivil Kaushik tags along with his chinaman expertise.

Chinnaswamy Stadium proved to take an unexpected turn favoring the bowlers in the RCB vs MI match. This time around it is difficult to predict what the ground holds for the hosts as well as visitors. Will there be sixes galore or bowlers howling with every wicket will remain unanswered until the day arrives.

The loss against MI has proven to be wake up call for RCB to put up a better show at their home ground. On the other hand, GL will want to continue their dominance against RCB at Bengaluru as well.


Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB): Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadav (wk), Chris Jordan, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Stuart Binny, Kane Richardson, Tabraiz Shamsi, Travis Head, Praveen Dubey, Vikramjeet Malik, Akshay Karnewar, Iqbal Abdullah, Sachin Baby, Vikas Tokas.

Gujarat Lions (GL): Suresh Raina (c), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, James Faulkner, Brendon McCullum, Praveen Kumar, Dale Steyn, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Dwayne Smith, Dhawal Kulkarni, Aaron Finch, Eklavya Dwivedi, Andrew Tye, Ishan Kishan, Jaydev Shah, Shadab Jakati, Pravin Tambe, Pradeep Sangwan, Amit Mishra, Shivil Kaushik, Aksh Deep Nath, Sarabjeet Ladda, Umang Sharma, Paras Dogra.

Time: 16:00 local | 10:30 GMT

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