After innumerable matches, some significant, and a lot of them not so, Royal Challengers Bangalore will take on Gujarat Lions in the first Qualifier of IPL 2016 on
After innumerable matches, some significant, and a lot of them not so, Royal Challengers Bangalore will take on Gujarat Lions in the first Qualifier of IPL 2016 on Tuesday. Both sides have taken contrasting positions to reach the final four. Gujarat Lions began with the bang, before losing their way midway through the tournament, but recovered in time, and well enough to finish the league round as the number one team. Bangalore, on the other hand, struggled to stay afloat after a poor start to the event, but have made it to number two thanks to incredible efforts by Virat Kohli with bat, which have resulted in four consecutive wins.
On current form, Bangalore may seem to have the upper hand, as they have been on a roll of late, but Lions would be keen to impress as well. The last time these two sides in the league stage, Bangalore pulverised Gujarat into submission, registering a record 144-run win. That game may be at the back of both teams' minds as they face off again. While Bangalore would be keen to put up an equally comprehensive effort, Gujarat will be seeking revenge. There will be a lot more at stake on Tuesday, since the winner would progress straight into the final. As such, the past will matter little when the teams come face to face again.
Bangalore have been led brilliantly by Kohli with the bat. The kind of numbers he has produced in the series has been next to unbelievable. And in spite of the mountain of runs behind him, Kohli had no qualms in buckling down and playing a composed knock to ensure qualification against Delhi Daredevils in the final league match, which was a do-or-die encounter. Chris Gayle may have failed in that match, but he clearly is in much better form than he was at the start of the tournament. Bangalore will be hoping AB de Villiers also continues his great run with the bat.
Bangalore's bowling had been letting them down earlier in the tournament, but they too have picked up the pieces in recent matches. Leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has managed to find his mojo at the right time, while Sreenath Aravind was successful in keeping things tight in the previous match. As mentioned earlier, the Lions would be keen to improve on the effort they put up last time against Bangalore. They will definitely seek solace from the fact that Suresh Raina had missed that game, and is now available.
The Lions have blown hot and cold in recent times, but have match-winners in their midst without doubt. In the batting, they will be dependent on the big four in Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch and skipper Raina himself, all of whom have been in splendid form at various times in the tournament. All-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja have succeeded with the ball, but have failed with the bat. But, they remain dangerous nonetheless. Among the bowlers, Bravo and Dhawal Kulkarni have done well, along with Jadeja as mentioned earlier. That said, Lions will seek an improved effort from Pravin Tambe.