Battle of brothers: Hardik’s GT to take on Krunal-led LSG
Ahmedabad: It will be a test of wits between the Pandya brothers — Hardik and Krunal — when defending champions Gujarat Titans clash with Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL here on Sunday.
While Hardik has captained the Indian team on multiple occasions and is leading GT for the second year, Krunal has led the Baroda team in domestic cricket and was elevated to the role of LSG captain in the absence of regular skipper KL Rahul. The two have become the first brothers to captain teams in the IPL.
Under Hardik, GT are perched on top of the leader board with 14 points.
Krunal, on the other hand, led LSG in the washed out match against Chennai Super Kings. He will be tasked with raising the morale of the side, which has lost its regular skipper and pacer Jaydev Unadkat.
LSG, who are second on the points table with 11 points, enter the fixture on the back of a loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore and a washed out game against CSK> Rahul, who limped off the field against RCB, has ruled himself out of the remainder of the season, as he is set to undergo a thigh surgery.
Adding to their woes, pacer Unadkat will also play no part in this IPL after sustaining a shoulder injury.
In their previous two games the batting unit has disappointed as the Lucknow side was unable to chase or put totals in excess of 130 on the board.
They have blown hot and cold this season. While on the one hand, they have given commanding performances, they also have a self-destruct button, which goes off.
LSG have no dearth of talent in their line up but the inconsistent form of their batters is hurting the team.
They have named the experienced Karun Nair as a replacement for Rahul.
Come Sunday, LSG will have to be at their best against a formidable GT bowling attack.
In the absence of pacer Mark Wood, Afghan quick Naveen-ul-Haq has picked wickets while Ravi Bishnoi and Amit Mishra have led the LSG spin department well.
The Titans, on the other hand, are coming off a morale boosting nine-wicket win against Rajasthan Royals, where all their departments fired in unison.
The Gujarat bowlers have lived up to their top billing. Led by veteran pacer Mohammed Shami and the wily Rashid Khan, they have rarely faltered this season.
Irish medium pacer Josh Little and Afghan spinner Noor Ahmed have also been impactful in their debut season.
The batters, who had an off day against Delhi Capitals, came back with vengeance in the last game to decimate the 119-run target in 13.5 overs.
The aim will be to continue the good run in the business end of the tournament.
The Teams (from): Lucknow Super Giants: Krunal Pandya (c), Avesh Khan, Ayush Badoni, Quinton de Kock, Krishnappa Gowtham, Arpit Guleria, Deepak Hooda, Prerak Mankad, Karun Nair, Kyle Mayers, Amit Mishra, Mohsin Khan, Naveen-ul-Haq, Nicholas Pooran, Ravi Bishnoi, Daniel Sams, Karan Sharma, Romario Shepherd, Marcus Stoinis, Swapnil Singh, Jaydev Unadkat, Manan Vohra, Mark Wood, Yash Thakur, Yudhvir Singh.
Gujarat Titans: Hardik Pandya (c), Shubman Gill, David Miller, Abhinav Manohar, Sai Sudharsan, Wriddhiman Saha, Matthew Wade, Rashid Khan, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Mohammed Shami, Alzarri Joseph, Yash Dayal, Pradeep Sangwan, Darshan Nalkande, Jayant Yadav, R. Sai Kishore, Noor Ahmad, Dasun Shanaka, Odean Smith, KS Bharat, Shivam Mavi, Urvil Patel, Joshua Little and Mohit Sharma.
Match starts at 3:30 PM IST.