AB de Villiers injured, RCB seek rise from last place
Gujarat Lions v Royal Challengers Bangalore
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Start time 2000 IST
Head to head
Overall Royal Challengers have a 2-1 lead against Lions, including a 144-run victory, the largest margin in the IPL. Royal Challengers lost their one meeting in Rajkot, though, where Lions chased down 181.
In the news
Four hours before the game, AB de Villiers said on Twitter that he would not be playing because of injury, which means an overseas spot opens up for either Chris Gayle or Travis Head in the RCB XI. De Villiers had missed RCB's first two games of the season with an injury and made 89 not out, 19 and 29 in their next three.
Aaron Finch will have been reunited with his kit bag by now and can be expected to take Jason Roy's place in Lions' XI, unless the franchise opts to persist with the England batsman. Dwayne Bravo had continued his rehabilitation in Rajkot while the team was on the road and he returned to full training with the squad on Monday. According to team sources, he is still a doubtful starter against RCB as he might need another couple of days to achieve full fitness.
Five games into the season and at the bottom of the table, Royal Challengers' problem of fitting in overseas players has led to considerable flux in their batting order. They have tried a different opening combination in each game so far and this, coach Daniel Vettori admitted, has not allowed their younger batsmen lower down the order to settle into roles, increasing the pressure on Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. Chris Gayle and Shane Watson's form has not helped either.
Gujarat Lions 1 Brendon McCullum, 2 Dwayne Smith, 3 Suresh Raina (capt), 4 Aaron Finch/Jason Roy, 5 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 6 Ishan Kishan, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Praveen Kumar/Dhawal Kulkarni, 9 Basil Thampi, 10 AJ Tye, 11 Munaf Patel/Shadab Jakati
Royal Challengers Bangalore 1 Chris Gayle/Travis Head, 2 Virat Kohli (capt), 3 Shane Watson, 4 Mandeep Singh, 5 Kedar Jadhav (wk), 6 Vishnu Vinod (wk)/ Stuart Binny, 7 Pawan Negi, 8 Adam Milne/Billy Stanlake/Tymal Mills, 9 Samuel Badree, 10 S Aravind, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
- If Royal Challengers do recall Gayle, the match will pit two of the most prolific opening partnerships against each other. Virat Kohli and Gayle have aggregated 1064 runs, while Brendon McCullum and Smith have a tally of 1352. Only three other opening partnerships - Shikhar Dhawan-David Warner (1752), Gautam Gambhir-Robin Uthappa (1478), and Michael Hussey-M Vijay (1360) have aggregated more.
- Brendon McCullum could find himself facing Samuel Badree early in his innings. The legspinner has dismissed McCullum twice in six T20 innings overall, conceding 26 runs off 34 balls
- Badree is among the most economical spinners in the Powerplay in the IPL. Among spinners playing this season, Badree's overall IPL economy rate of 5.82 ranks behind only Rashid Khan (4.75), and Sunil Narine (5.47)
- Lions' weak spin attack has been a headache for them. Their spinners have the worst overall economy rate this season: 9.49. In Powerplays, this rises to 14.00. Overall, of the 15 wickets to have fallen at the SCA Stadium this IPL, nine have fallen to pace bowlers (with Andrew Tye's five-for making up a large chunk), while spinners have taken six. The economy rates have been near identical: 9.55 for pace and 9.71 for spin.
April 18, 10.30 GMT - The article was updated after AB de Villiers was ruled out of the game
Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo