Baidurjo and Arnab: This is all we have from here at present. Catch you guys with the toss and the LIVE blog of the match in 15 minutes from now. Till then, take a break. See you on the other side.
Arnab: My likely Playing XI: Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, Shane Watson, Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav (wk), Stuart Binny, Pawan Negi, Adam Milne, Samuel Badree, S Aravind, Yuzvendra Chahal
Baidurjo: Sure, my likely Playing XI: Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Suresh Raina, Jason Roy, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhawal Kulkarni, Basil Thampi, AJ Tye, Munaf Patel
What about you Arnab?
Arnab: Enough said and done, may the best team win this must-win match for both teams. While it is still early days, a win will help get the momentum back. Let us take a look at the respective playing XI. Why don't you start Baidurjo?
Baidurjo: When the going gets tough, the tough get going and trust Jadeja to put up a good all-round show in this must-win game. Given the power-packed batting line-up, Jadeja’s role with the bat might be limited, but he will definitely be holding his own with the ball in hand. Not only is Jadeja a proven performer in this format, but also he has over the years made it a point to prove detractors wrong.
Arnab: But then, Gujarat have won just 3 of the 7 games that they have played at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot, clearly not the most auspicious home record. Also, 6 of the 7 games at the SCA Stadium has been won by the team batting second which again means that RCB hold the edge as skipper Kohli is known to love chasing down totals.
Also, Jadeja's bowling average of 74.00 and economy of 9.25 are his worst in any IPL season. That augurs well for the RCB middle-order as Jadeja is known to stem the flow of runs with his disciplined line and length.
Baidurjo: Gujarat have two strikers up front who can match the two bowlers you just put forward for RCB in Badree and Milne. McCullum is just 6 runs away from completing 500 runs against RCB, will only be the 2nd foreigner to do so after Warner (569). Also, McCullum's historic knock of 158* in the opening game of the first IPL game back in 2008 came against RCB. Also, skipper Raina has scored 549 Runs in the IPL against Royal Challengers Bangalore at a batting strike-rate of 127.97. He is the leading run scorer of Gujarat Lions in the IPL with 535 Runs.
Arnab: Yes, that has been an issue for sure, but Samuel Badree and Adam Milne have been good. Badree has a bowling economy of 5.68 in T20 cricket. Has most wickets (5) by an RCB bowler in IPL 2017 despite playing just two matches and also has a bowling average of 8.20 in IPL 2017, the best by a spinner. Also, Milne had a promising last match finishing with figures 2/27. These two will give Kohli confidence.
Baidurjo: Let the boy settle in. He has returned after a long international season and is just warming up. How about taking a look at RCB's woes in the foreign supply line? They have changed their 4 foreign players in each of their 5 matches. In their first match they started with Gayle, Watson, Head and Mills but in their 2nd match Head was dropped for Stanlake. The changes continued in the 3rd match where AB de Villiers replaced Gayle. The defeat against KXIP meant Gayle was brought back in place of Stanlake and Badree also came in place of Watson for their 4th match against MI. In their last match, Watson and Milne replaced Gayle and Mills, the constant chopping and changing has meant RCB are yet to find the right combination. And that is an area they need to look into.
Arnab: Talking of big-match players, Gujarat Lions are yet to see the best of local hero Ravindra Jadeja. He has managed just 9 wickets in 17 IPL matches for the franchise. As context, Dwayne Smith, who has bowled in just 11 innings, has managed the same number of wickets. In IPL 2017, Jadeja was sidelined for Gujarat’s first two matches, but came back in time for their clash against Rising Pune Supergiant. So far, he’s managed figures of 1/40 against RPS and 0/34 against MI. The RCB batsmen will be waiting to rip him apart on what promises to be a flat deck.
Baidurjo: Whichever team he might play for, a cricket fan always wants Kohli to succeed. But yes, talking of successful players, one person everyone seems to forget is Dinesh Karthik. Karthik is just 37 runs away from completing 500 runs as a Gujarat Lions player. He will become only the 3rd player to do so after Suresh Raina and Brendon McCullum. Also, Karthik is just 1 dismissal away from 100 IPL dismissals: He will become the 1st wicket keeper to do so.
Arnab: HAHAHA! Glad you know the numbers, I was just checking on you. But jokes apart, a good game is the priority when two quality teams clash. They might not have had the best of times in this edition of the league, but both franchises have quality players who can change the course of the match on their own. Just for the record, since you did not leave an opportunity to rub Kulkarni's stats in, I would like to remind all viewers that skipper Kohli has 2 centuries against Gujarat Lions. Yes, all of you read that right. He was in ominous touch last year and the Lions paid heavily.
Baidurjo: Thanks Arnab for that half-volley. I would like to use it to hit a MAXIMUM and throw further light on GL pacer Kulkarni. He has managed to dismiss Gayle thrice and the giant manages a strike-rate of just 104.16 against Kulkarni. Similarly, run-machine Kohli has also been dismissed thrice by Kulkarni and the RCB skipper has a strike-rate of just 105.88 against the pacer.
Arnab: Looks like it is going to be a run-feast here, but let me throw a little light on the bowlers since you spoke only about the batters. RCB pacer Sreenath Aravind has the best bowling strike-rate among present seam bowlers in the IPL at 15.3. GL pacer Dhawal Kulkarni has taken 14 wickets against Royal Challengers Bangalore, his most against any opponent in the IPL.
Baidurjo: Talking of statistics, we must tell the viewers that two of the highest run scorers in the IPL are facing off against each other tonight. While GL skipper Suresh Raina leads the charge with 4234 runs, RCB skipper Kohli is sitting pretty on 4200 runs. Not to forget that 3 off the top 5 individual scores in the IPL are also held by players playing tonight. While Gayle has two of them with scores of 175* and 128*, McCullum has the second highest score of 158*.
The other two are also held by a man from RCB, but ABD is not playing tonight, so that does not count.
Arnab: RCB's pacers have been a little off-colour for sure, but Chahal could once again be the trump-card for Kohli. Interestingly, he has dismissed McCullum twice and the Kiwi batsman has a strike-rate of just 53.84 against the leg-spinner. Sending back BAZ early would be the perfect start for RCB. Also, Yuzvendra Chahal has taken 5 wickets against GL, the most by a spinner.
Baidurjo: For Gujarat though, the opening slot looks more or less settled, even though Dwayne Smith failed to score in the last game against MI. He has otherwise been in decent form and a good show at the top with Brendon McCullum would work wonders. Considering the weak RCB bowling, it could be the perfect opportunity for both Smith and McCullum to make hay. Raina in at no.3 has looked good and the move to get Jason Roy out in the middle-order also worked as he hit a 7-ball 14 against MI.
Arnab: Coming to the head-to-head, the teams have met thrice and Bangalore have won 2 of those 3 games. So past form clearly favouring Kohli's team here. But the issue is at the top and if Chris Gayle does come in for ABD, it will be interesting to see whether he manages to finally take IPL 10 by storm. Mandeep Singh flopped in the last game as opener, getting out for a duck, and getting Gayle back could be the logical solution.
Baidurjo: ABD missing would be a big blow, but surprisingly, he removed the tweet later. Not sure why. But yes, Gujarat too have their own problems with the team yet to get the balance right. Dwayne Bravo is still recovering from the hamstring issue and Jadeja has not taken the stage on fire yet. Just 1 wicket in 2 games is not enough when you are a vital cog in the bowling unit. He has also been pretty expensive with an economy rate of 9.25
Arnab: Yes, aptly put. Both teams need to get back to winning ways. RCB are currently placed 8th in the points table with a net run-rate of -1.095 and must get their campaign back on course. Gujarat have had their own problems, placed seventh with a net run-rate of -1.084. And injury woes seems to be getting worse for skipper Virat Kohli as AB de Villiers tweeted on his official account that he was going to miss the game against GL.