About the Match
Both Kings XI Punjab and Gujarat Lions positioned fifth and seventh respectively in the points table of the ongoing Indian Premier League; have two wins each out of their respective first six games, and are separated only by the NRR calculations. These two teams will now face each other for the first time this season in the 26th Match of the league at Rajkot on 23rd April. Currently, there are five teams in the league which has two wins each, and both these teams would be eager to get a win here and move away from this mid table hubris.
Gujarat Lions are back in the competition. They beat Kolkata on Friday, and are now at par with four other teams, with two wins each so far. They are no more at the bottom of the table, and they should be able to take the confidence from this win into their next games in the tournament.
Gujarat started their campaign with two losses against Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad. In their next match against Rising Pune Supergiant, Andrew Tye took a five-wicket haul and gave Lions their first win of the season.
This win could have led to a shift in momentum but it was not to be. In their fourth game against Mumbai Indians, the batting did well, but the bowling again failed to defend the total. Then against Royal Challengers Bangalore, the bowlers gave away a massive 213 runs and the batsmen could not chase it down, despite a massive effort from Brendon McCullum.
Time was surely running out for Gujarat; but against Kolkata, their captain Suresh Raina displayed great all round skills and won the match for his team almost single handed.
Gujarat now has two wins from six games and more importantly, will meet Punjab in their next game with momentum on their side. This win should not eclipse some obvious chinks in Gujarat’s armor, but they now at least have some more breathing space to address such issues.
Kings XI Punjab
Punjab had started their campaign with wins in their first two matches at their second home, Indore, but have now lost four games in a row. Punjab began with an emphatic win over Pune, chasing down 164 runs with ease. Then Punjab continued their run in the next match with an absolute thrashing of Royal Challengers Bangalore.
But as they moved away from home, they lost the next three matches to Kolkata, Delhi, and Hyderabad. Against Kolkata, none of the batsmen were able to convert and go on to get a substantial score. Against Delhi, the bowlers gave away plenty and then Kings XI could not chase it down again.
Against Hyderabad, the bowlers did reasonably well; but the batsmen, with the exception of Manan Vohra, could not get going. Vohra made an outstanding 95 but was left stranded alone with little help from others.
In their last game against Mumbai, returning to Indore, Hashim Amla scored a magnificent century and led Punjab to a daunting total of 198 runs. But Mumbai chased down this total in just 15.3 overs, highlighting how big a weakness Punjab’s bowling is.
Punjab is a good team, and have the players to beat any side on their day; but to have any chance in this game, they need to regroup quickly and find the right combination which gives them balance with a potent bowling attack.
The Lions and Punjab are facing each other for the first time this season. Gujarat have the all important momentum with them and are playing at home. Punjab are a good team and they might be able to pull out a surprise here, but they have just endured a morale-sapping loss and might find it difficult to emerge out of it at such short notice.