RCB being the only side to have defended totals in this tournament had the uphill task of taking on the side that has looked the strongest in IPL 2016 – purely because of it’s balanced squad and strong bench strength, adding to which are the nucleus Chennai Super Kings players and it’ll be a fair assessment to say that Gujarat Lions have got the better share of the nucleus Chennai Super Kings players – Bravo, Jadeja, McCullum and Raina are all extremely cricket minded players which makes Gujarat Lions look extremely strong.

Gujarat Lions vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
Date 24 Apr 2016
Venue Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium
182/4 (19.3)   180/2 (20)
Gujarat Lions won by 6 wickets

Having been beaten badly in their last game, the Gujarat Lions needed to showcase a strong performance in their match against RCB. With the conditions being hot and each team needing immense strength to play this harshly energy soaking format, both the teams were ideally looking to bat first (which is against the pattern followed by winning sides in IPL 2016, chasing is the mantra really).

RCB won the toss and elected to bat first

RCB won the toss and rightly elected to bat first under extreme heat of Rajkot. They made 2 changes to their side in Chahal and Jadhav getting another go BUT an injury post the toss to Jadhav meant that KL Rahul had starts shining his way, getting another go.

The Gujarat Lions decided to finally give the West Indian Dwayne Smith a go in the match instead of Dale Steyn and Jakati came IN for Nath.

Bad start for RCB

It was yet another poor show for the opening duo for RCB – losing Watson early in the innings (KL Rahul demoted to lower down in batting order, Gayle still has not returned to India post birth of his daughter). It was yet again the same picture for RCB with Kohli and Villiers showing tremendous rapport with each other; the runs were coming easily – the hard singles and doubles in the heat were being made to look easy by these 2 quickies between the wickets.

Virat Kohli showed once again he was unstoppable

The heat possibly exhausted Villiers who was picked out at short cover. Next IN CAME the man who was dropped from the side for today but an injury post the toss to Jadhav gave him another go and he made the most of it. Smashing a classy fifty in his typical style, calm and composed – hitting 51 off 35 balls. The real star though was the man at the other end though in Virat Kohli – the man is unstoppable and it seems he can do no wrong these days. He finally made the additional run to score a century in this format, with 99 being his best in his IPL career till today. Kohli’s innings had 11 fours and 1 six – the RCB got to 180 in 20 overs.

GL started their game cautiously

The Gujarat Lions needed their openers to fire and they did. Smith opened the batting with McCullum and while the latter has played all the matches so far, it was the first for Smith in IPL 2016 – who didn’t look rusty though. Smith made 32 off 21 and McCullum 42 off 24.

Raina was out for 28 off 24 balls

Raina was unable to free flow and a strike rate of 116 in this format is below his usual standards, considering that the chase in front was 181. Raina was out for 28 in 24 balls.

Karthik led GL to victory

The chase saw Dinesh Kartik (once India’s opener to England tour in 2007), play the pivotal role of anchoring the innings and guiding them to the victory line. Karthik may not have played at a strike rate of 200 but even the strike rate of 128 was enough to guide the side to victory.

Gujarat Lions required 21 in the last 2 overs and Kohli showed faith in his bowler Iqbal Abdulla. Fair to say though, giving away 14 in the over and leaving just 7 in the last over for Watson (not a usual last over choice for captains) made Gujarat Lions favorites to win. A mention goes out to the lap sweep played by Karthik on the first ball of the 19th over – absolutely gutsy batting.

Watson started the last over horribly, giving away a free hit on the very first delivery and from there it all went downhill for RCB – Gujarat Lions won with 3 balls to spare.

Kohli won the MOTM – and it’s exceptional that the chasing side had just one fifty whereas the losing side had a centurion and yet lost; the chasing way to victory saga continues in IPL 2016.

GL vs RCB (IPL 2016 M 19) Playing XI

Gujarat Lions

  1. Aaron Finch
  2. Brendon Mccullum
  3. Suresh Raina
  4. Dinesh Karthik
  5. Dwayne Smith
  6. Ravindra Jadeja
  7. Dwayne Bravo
  8. Praveen Kumar
  9. Dhawal Kulkarni
  10. Shadab Jakati
  11. Pravin Tambe
Royal Challengers Bangalore

  1. Virat Kohli
  2. Ab De Villiers
  3. Shane Watson
  4. Lokesh Rahul
  5. Sarfaraz Khan
  6. Kedar Jadhav
  7. Stuart Binny
  8. Iqbal Abdulla
  9. Yuzvendra Chahal
  10. Kane Richardson
  11. Tabraiz Shamsi

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