Rajkot: The shocking loss to laggards Kings XI Punjab in their last match, notwithstanding, table toppers Gujarat Lions will have to get their acts together quickly if they wish to end their home campaign on a winning note against a formidable Delhi Daredevils in an IPL match, here tomorrow.
Gujarat Lions' three-match winning streak came to an end yesterday after losing to Kings XI by 23 runs in the ongoing ninth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
But despite the loss, Gujarat Lions continue to enjoy the top spot in the table with 12 points from eight games.
The ever-improving Daredevils are not far behind as they are placed third with eight points from six games.
Gujarat Lions batting so far has revolved around explosive openers Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith. When the duo clicked, the Lions have managed to achieve scores around 200.
Both McCullum and Smith had a rare off day yesterday and the duo would be hoping to return among runs come tomorrow.
Skipper Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik made useful contributions at the middle even though they failed against Kings XI yesterday, but their main worry would be the batting form of two all-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja.
Bravo and Jadeja have been handy for Raina with the ball but it is their performance with the bat which is a matter of concern.
Bravo has so far taken 10 wickets in eight matches, but contributed just 52 runs with the bat, while Jadeja has picked up five wickets from seven games and scored only 53 runs.
On the bowling front, seamers Dhawal Kulkarni and Praveen Kumar have been doing their bit upfront, while left-arm chinaman bowler Shivil Kaushik has impressive yesterday against Kings XI Punjab by scalping three wickets for just 20 runs from his four overs.
The Daredevils, on the other hand, would be hoping to settle scores after losing by a narrow one run against Gujarat Lions at home.
Mentored by Rahul Dravid and led by veteran Zaheer Khan, IPL 9 has seen a transformed Daredevils side. They have so far won four out of their six games, losing just against Gujarat Lions and Kolkata Knight Riders.
South African Quinton de Kock, who hit season's first century by making 108 off just 51 balls, could not continue his batting form while other opener Shreyas Iyer is going through prolonged lean patch.
Young Karun Nair, Sanju Samson and South African JP Duminy have delivered when the team needed them while Sam Billings smashed a 34-ball 54 in his first match for Daredevils this season.
Returning to the playing eleven, big-hitting West Indian Craig Brathwaite made a quickfire 34 off 11 balls in Daredevils last match against Kolkata Knight Riders, while lanky all-rounder Chris Morris any day is a threat for the opposition bowlers, which he proved in his 32-ball unbeaten 82-run fiery knock against Gujarat Lions in the first leg match.
The Daredevils also boasts of a potent bowling attack. Even though he went for runs, Zaheer has been impressive up front without much success. The left-arm pacer, however, returned among wickets by picking up three scalps conceding just 21 runs in the last match.
Zaheer's pace partner Mohammad Shami, however, has leaked runs and would be hoping for an improved show.
Morris and Brathwaite have been handy in the middle overs although the West Indian went for some pounding during his three-wicket spell against Knight Riders.
The Daredevils also has two wily spinners in Amit Mishra and South African Imran Tahir.
Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (C), Sarabjit Ladda, Akshadeep Nath, Amit Mishra, Dwayne Bravo, Paras Dogra, Eklavya Dwivedi, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, Dinesh Karthik, Shivil Kaushik, Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar, Brendon McCullum, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaydev Shah, Umang Sharma, Dwayne Smith, Dale Styne, Pravin Tambe, Andrew Tye.
Delhi Daredevils: Zaheer Khan (C), Mayank Agarwal, Khaleel Ahmed, Sam Billings, Carlos Brathwait, Nathan Coulter Nile, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Akhil Harwardkar, Imran Tahir, Shreyas Iyer, Manipal Lamror, Chama Milind, Amit Mishra, Mohammad Shami, Chris Morris, Shahbaz Nadeem, Karun Nair, Pawan Negi, Rishabh Pant, Pratyush Singh, Sanju Samson, Pawan Suyal, Jayant Yadav.