About the Match
Two of the most anticipated teams in the Indian Premier League, Gujarat Lions (GL) and Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS), will go head to head against each other in match 6 of season 9.
The two teams’ combined squad is a reflection of fan favorite and now banned, Chennai Super Kings. Suresh Raina, the CSK vice-captain since the beginning, is captaining the Gujarat Lions while MS Dhoni, who captained CSK previously, will be leading the Rising Pune Supergiants.
Both teams have won their opening fixtures quite comprehensively while playing away. It proves the character of the two squads and the captains. Let us analyze if Raina can outshine his CSK and national team captain, Dhoni.
We can judge Raina’s captaincy better once we progress further in the tournament. However, winning the toss and sending in Kings XI to bat first tells us that Raina is confident of his side’s chasing abilities. The ex-CSK vice-captain may not be as experienced as Dhoni, but surely, he will follow in the footsteps of MS.
Gujarat chased down a target of 162 with 14 bowls remaining in its first fixture. It was all down to the brilliant hands played by Aaron Finch and veteran Dinesh Karthik. Otherwise, GL batsmen overcame a slight stutter after a couple of batsmen, including Raina, were unsettled and got out early by playing rash strokes.
The pitch at Rajkot is not easy to bat on during night matches since the dew factor plays its part. Only a single T20 has been played at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, back in October 2015, where the coming-in-second team had a mammoth task of chasing down 201 runs, which they could not. Hence, the runs will come but only in the first innings.
Gujarat has quality, undoubtedly, but in front of Dhoni, with all his mind games, Raina and co will need to step up their game.
Rising Pune Supergiants:
Pune is like Chennai Super Kings in disguise; the same captain, with strengths and qualities congruent to CSK. The top three, Rahane, du Plessis and Kevin Pieterson are in solid form. It will not be any easier to get through these three regardless of the bowling attack.
In their opening fixture, Pune dominated Mumbai Indians after losing an important task and chased a minuscule total 122 with 32 balls to go. Truly, Dhoni XI will have to keep winning from this point on to prove that they are a top side. However, with the quality of Steven Smith, Ashwin under the banner of Dhoni himself, Pune will eventually emerge as a title contender.
Unlike Gujarat, Pune is a better-balanced side regarding experience, youth, and talent. Dhoni has a 60% win record along with two titles for Chennai Super Kings. Surely, the skipper will be looking forward to building a similar legacy, but this time around Pune.
Both teams have started well, and only subtle differences distinguish the two teams, at least on paper. With Dhoni’s experience and Pune’s balance, we think that Dhoni XI will dominate Gujarat Lions, no matter when they come in to bat