Rajkot: After making impressive debuts in their respective openers, Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions will test each others’ strengths when the two new entrants clash in the Indian Premier League (IPL), in Rajkot on Thursday.
The two teams feature a lot of faces from the suspended Chennai Super Kings and at least six players, who played in the same side till last year, will now be in opposite camps.
Close friends and CSK teammates Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina will now be devising strategies as rival captains. Both have admitted that playing in a jersey other than ‘yellow’ has been very “emotional” but have promised to give their all for their new teams.
The Dhoni-led Pune Supergiants were very convincing and dominant when they handed defending champions Mumbai Indians a nine-wicket drubbing.
They did not even require their middle order, packed with Dhoni himself and players such as Steven Smith, to come out with top-order delivering it for them comfortably.
The Lions though needed a proper team effort in taming Kings XI Punjab, who batted well but were pretty ordinary when they bowled. Aaron Finch was in good touch but the wayward Punjab bowlers only made his job easy. The big positive for the Lions was the heart showed by the young Ishan Kishan.
The Under-19 Indian captain played with a lot of gumption and his confident flick off Mitchell Johnson was a proof of that. Dwayne Bravo continued his impressive form in T20s as he became the only IPL player to have a combo of 1000 runs and 100 wickets.
Overall, the Lions look like a good package but they will be tested by the Supergiants, who are looking the most formidable outfit this year in the League.
RP Singh with Mitchell Marsh will test their batsmen together along with quality spinners such as R. Ashwin and M. Ashwin.
But it will be interesting to see if Dhoni continues to underbowl R Ashwin or lets him complete his full quota of overs....