Rajkot: Unbeaten in all the three games they have played so far in the tournament, Gujarat Lions would look to continue with their impressive winning run when they take on Sunrisers Hyderabad in an IPL match here on Thursday.
The Lions have been in red-hot form in their debut season with convincing wins in all the three games and they would seek to maintain a clean slate tomorrow at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
The home side will also be bolstered by the return of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja who did not play in the Lion's seven-wicket thrashing of defending champions Mumbai Indians in Mumbai due to his wedding.
"Jadeja is all set to return to the team as all post marriage rituals got completed," Lions team sources said.
The IPL debutants have won their two away matches against Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians. They also defeated Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Rising Pune Supergiants at home by seven wickets.
Australian opener Aaron Finch, who has hit three fifties in three matches, will once again be the batting mainstay for the Lions.
Finch, who had to battle muscle cramp in Lions' win against Mumbai, started the IPL season in sparkling touch, scoring 74, 50 and 67 not out. On each occasion, he has been named the man of the match, only the second time in IPL history a player has won the award three consecutive times.
Kiwi hard hitter Brendon McCullum is yet to score a big one as his highest in three matches has been 49 against Rising Super Kings, and he would look to make his mark tomorrow.
Captain Suresh Raina is yet to capitalise on the starts he has got in the previous games and he can be expected to score big runs at home turf. Dinesh Karthik, Dwayne Bravo and Jadeja would be handy in the batting front for the Lions.
The bowling attack has also been up to the task with Bravo, James Faulkner and Praveen Kumar doing well in the pace department while Jadeja's return will bolster spin department which also has the likes of Pravin Tambe and Shadab Jakati.
Bravo has taken six wickets in three matches while Jadeja have four from the two matches he played.
On the other hand, the Sunrisers have won just one match out of three games. They scored a morale-boosting seven-wicket win over Mumbai Indians at home in their last match with skipper David Warner hitting an unbeaten 90 off just 59 balls.
Warner can decimate a bowling attack on his day but his side's batting line-up looked fragile in the absence of the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Kane Williamson, who both suffered injuries during the World T20, and with the horrible run of form of Shikhar Dhawan who has scored just 16 in three games.
Yuvraj and Williamson are unlikely to be available for tomorrow's match. Yuvraj is not expected to be fit till early next week and the Sunrisers are badly missing his services.
Moises Henriques, Deepak Hooda and Eoin Morgan are the other key batsmen in Sunrisers squad.
In the absence of senior pacer Ashish Nehra, who sustained a groin strain in Sunrisers' first match against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Bhuvneswar Kumar and Bangladesh seamer Mustafizur Rahman would handle the new ball. They would be supported by the likes of Moises Henriques and spinner Bipul Sharma.
The Teams (From)
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Moises Henriques, Deepak Hooda, Siddharth Kaul, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun, Eoin Morgan, Mustafizur Rahman, Ashish Reddy, Ricky Bhui, Bipul Sharma, Trent Bolt, Ben Cutting, Ashish Nehra, Naman Ojha, Vijay Shankar, Karn Sharma, Barinder Sran, T Suman, Aditya Tare, Kane Williamson and Yuvraj Singh.
Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (C), Dwayne Bravo, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Ravindra Jadeja, Sarabjit Ladda, Akshadeep Nath, Amit Mishra, Dinesh Karthik, Shivil Kaushik, Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar, Brendon McCullum, Paras Dogra, Eklavya Dwivedi, Ishan Kishan, Shadab Jakati, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaydev Shah, Umang Sharma, Dwayne Smith, Dale Styne, Pravin Tambe and Andrew Tye.
Match Starts: 8 pm.
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