MATCHES

Preview: Q1 - GL vs RCB

Gujarat Lions, RCB eye straight passage to the VIVO IPL Final

Mumbai 23 May 2016
What

Four teams are left standing in the VIVO IPL 2016. Two of them – Gujarat Lions and Royal Challengers Bangalore – who ended among the top two teams in the table, will come up against each other in Qualifier 1 – the first of the Playoff matches.

Both teams have had contrasting runs to the Playoffs. The Gujarat Lions started off with a bang, winning six of their first seven matches, before doing just enough to hold on to their place in the top four. Royal Challengers Bangalore meanwhile had a poor first half – winning just two of their first half of their seven matches. Since then, they’ve won six of their last seven matches – and have played each of their last four matches like a knockout match.

In their most recent outing, the Gujarat Lions got the better of the Mumbai Indians to ensure their passage to the Playoffs. They restricted the defending champions to 172-8 and then chased down the runs in under 18 overs, winning by 6 wickets.

RCB are red hot; their victory margins in the last four matches read 6 wickets, 82 runs, 9 wickets and 144 runs. From the time the IPL began, RCB have been perennial favourites and have always threatened to win the title. A victory in this match will set up a title clash in their own backyard. Can they do it?

When

24 May 2016, 2000 Hrs IST

Where

M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru

Weather


Temperature: Max 29°c, Min 26°c
Humidity: Max 69%
Wind: 11kmph

The Protagonists


Figure this: Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, AB de Villiers, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli and Shane Watson all playing in one match. How does one single out from those names, each of who can lay claim to be among the most devastating in business and are capable of winning matches single-handedly?

Simply put, Virat Kohli has been sensational; four centuries, six half-centuries and a record season aggregate of 919 runs best describes his performance this season. AB de Villiers, with an aggregate of 603 runs scored at a strike-rate of 170.33, has been prolific too. The Gujarat Lions will expect a blazing start from their openers – McCullum and Finch – and hope Suresh Raina can take charge, like he did in the team’s last two matches.

Head to Head


Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Lions crossed swords twice this season, and both teams shared honours, winning their respective home matches. The RCB captain Virat Kohli scored a century in both matches; his maiden T20 hundred went in vain in Rajkot as the Gujarat Lions chased down 181 to win by 6 wickets. In their backyard, RCB returned the favour in Bangalore, beating the Lions by 144 runs – the biggest margin by which a team has won in the IPL.

Trivia


The current record for most runs scored in T20 cricket in a calendar year is held by Chris Gayle, who scored 1665 runs in 2015. Virat Kohli is not too far behind; he has amassed 1544 runs in 26 T20 innings this year.

No one has appeared in more IPL knockout/Playoff matches than Suresh Raina; he has been part of 17 such matches. The only other player to compete in 17 knockout/Playoff matches is his previous captain MS Dhoni.

Players who are part of the Gujarat Lions and RCB squads have a total of 17 centuries – out of a total of 42 centuries that have been scored in the IPL. Chris Gayle has 5 IPL centuries, Virat Kohli has 4, AB de Villiers has 3, Brendon McCullum and Shane Watson have scored two centuries each, and Suresh Raina has scored one century.

In the last five seasons, the team which has finished the league season at second place in the standings has gone on to win the title.

RCB’s record in Playoff matches, including the Final (since the introduction of the Playoff format in 2011): Won – 2, Lost – 3.

Every occasion that Brendon McCullum or Dwayne Smith have made scores of 30 or more, the Gujarat Lions have been victorious; McCullum has made five scores of 30 or more, while Smith has made 4 such scores.

RCB’s Sreenath Arvind has taken a total of 38 wickets in the IPL; he has reaped 20 of those wickets in the 12 matches he has played at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.

What Next

The winner of this contest will progress straight to the Final (May 29) of VIVO IPL 2016, while the loser will have a second opportunity at making the final; they need to compete in Qualifier 2 (May 27), where they will be pitted against winner of the Eliminator.
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