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IPL 10, Match 13: Gujarat vs Pune

Wisden India logo Wisden India 13-04-2017 Wisden India staff

Languishing at the bottom of the points table and coming off crushing defeats, Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiant will both want to turn a corner in their contest at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Friday (April 14).

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Gujarat went down meekly in their opening encounters against Kolkata Knight Riders and, most recently, against Hyderabad.

Pune have played three matches, but since the high of the opening game against Mumbai Indians when they came through in a nail-biter, they haven't been able to replicate that form. They lost to Kings XI Punjab and were left stunned by a Sanju Samson onslaught to go down by 97 runs against Delhi Daredevils.

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With Brendon McCullum, Jason Roy and Aaron Finch in their ranks, Gujarat have an enviable batting line-up, but their top order hasn't fired yet. Dinesh Karthik and Suresh Raina have shown glimpses of form, but Gujarat will expect a more collective effort.

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A bigger concern, however, is the toothless bowling unit, which has managed to take only one wicket in two matches. Defending a formidable 183 against Kolkata, Gujarat gave away easy runs as the visitors romped home by ten wickets in 14.5 overs. Next, Hyderabad chased down 143 in 15.3 overs with nine wickets in hand.

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Gujarat will welcome the inclusion of Ravindra Jadeja, who missed the opening two games as he recovered from a testing few months of international cricket. The left-hander had a terrific home season, with both bat and ball, and his expected return will bring balance to the Gujarat line-up.

Pune, without Steven Smith, their skipper and star of the show against Mumbai, were skittled out for a paltry 108 in 16.1 overs against Delhi. Smith, having recovered from the stomach bug that kept him out of the previous match, is likely to play on Friday. Manoj Tiwari, who missed the previous match as he had been bereaved, is also set to return.

The big concern for Pune has been the form of Ben Stokes, the all rounder, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, their former captain. While Stokes has shown some form with the bat with one fifty, he has been taken to the cleaners with the ball. Dhoni has been woefully out of touch, scoring a mere 28 runs in three games with a strike-rate of just 75.67.

It is early days yet, but the stars on both sides will need to do their bit as the teams look to climb the points table.

Head-to-Head

Played: 2. Gujarat 2, Pune 0

Head-to-head at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium

Played: 1. Gujarat 1, Pune 0

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