The Lions, led by Suresh Raina, have displayed impressive performances in their first ever IPL appearance, finishing on top of the table en route to the Play-offs.
They had one foot in the summit clash when they had Royal Challengers Bangalore on the mat in the first Qualifier but AB de Villiers pulled the rug from under their feet with his sensational batting.
But the scenario of their second qualifier becomes tricky considering the fact that they have been beaten by the Sunrisers twice in the league stage.Both the times, they had failed to defend their totals.
The Sunrisers, though, have lost a bit of an edge in the absence of impactful Ashish Nehra, who is now recuperating from a knee surgery, but Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Bangladeshi pacer Mustafizur Rahman have arrived to the occasion and bowled Sunrisers to a position of strength. Even in the Eliminator, skipper David Warner used Kumar and Rahim to create a lot of pressure on Kolkata Knight Riders’ batsmen, to which they eventually cracked.
Also, the Feroz Shah Kotla track has been helpful for the pacers despite the slowing down of the wickets with the progression of the tournament. The way the Lions’ fast bowler Dhawal Kulkarni bowled against RCB in the Qualifier 1, the batsmen might have a tough time. Like Yuvraj Singh handled his innings on Wednesday, attacking the bowlers directly doesn’t seem like a good idea and the batsmen will need to spend some time at the crease before beginning to go for hits.
Though the Lions have quality batsmen to fight the Sunrisers pacers Brendon McCullum needs to fire at the top and put a tag on his wicket. Dwayne Smith has been their go-to man and he will definitely be Sunrisers’ prime target. Another batsman Gujarat will be depending on is Aaron Finch, whose stable knock can change the course of the game.