2016 IPL Qualifier: Gujarat Lions vs Royal Challengers Bangalore

May 24, 2016 by Posted in Cricket Tips

IPL Qualifier 1The 2016 Indian Premier League (IPL) moves into play-off stage with the first qualifier to be played between Gujarat Lions and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Tuesday, 24 May.

Gujarat Lions, led by Suresh Raina, are one of the two new franchises carved out this year who have surpassed all expectations to top the table at the end of league stage. RCB is led by Virat Kohli who has almost single-handedly led them to second place ahead of this qualifier.

Gujarat Lions have a formidable batting line-up led by Raina, Aaron Finch and Brendon McCullum. They have been one of the most consistent teams of the season and credit should go to Raina for marshalling his resources. Dwayne Smith was a revelation with his bowling and could once again be a surprise package.

But there are no surprises in how Dwayne Bravo led the attack with his clever variations. Dhawal Kulkarni has used the new ball well, often giving them the start they need. The side also boasts of the wily Praveen Kumar and the metronomic Ravindra Jadeja making their attack one of the toughest.

Their task will be to contain the supremely consistent Kohli who has given a new dimension to T20 batting in this IPL. With four centuries and six fifties in 14 games, the RCB skipper has amassed a mammoth 919 runs so far this season. All attacks have struggled to keep him in control while AB De Villiers and Chris Gayle rallied around him.
With the ball it is the spin of young leggie Yuzvendra Chahal (19 wickets) that has been their difference. Aussie veteran Shane Watson with 16 wickets has given Kohli the control of middle overs. And to keep the Gujarat Lions’ top order in check, RCB will require both of them hitting their top gear.

It will be a match-up between RCB’s top-order and Gujarat Lions’ bowling. They split their two encounters in the league but in the recent game, whirlwind hundreds from Kohli and AB led RCB to a record win. The question on everyone’s mind is, where will Kohli stop? And more importantly for Gujarat Lions, who will stop him?

The recent momentum of RCB make them the favorites for this tie at odds of $1.65 at Sportsbet and it’s hard to tip against them. Kohli makes them a dangerous top-heavy side but watch out for Gayle. The burly West Indian loves the big stage and is due for a big score. With the ball, it could once again be Chahal who could lead RCB while Bravo could be the best bowler for the visitors.

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