Death or glory, victory or despair. For Gujarat Lions and Sunrisers Hyderabad, their day of destiny awaits; who will book their place in the final of IPL 9 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday?
Match Betting & Game Preview
The nature of their defeat in the first qualifier to RCB will have been a huge psychological blow to the Lions. Having set a below-par target of 158, they had their opponents in all sorts of problems at 29-5 with Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and Lokesh Rahul all back in the hutch. They had a final place within their grasp….
But an out-of-this-world knock from AB de Villiers, with support from Stuart Binny and Iqbal Abdulla, saw his side home with ten balls to spare. How Suresh Raina can rally his troops after that is anybody’s guess.
No such problems for the Sunrisers in their eliminator against the Kolkata Knight Riders. A professional display with the bat saw them set a respectable target of 161, and their usual slick bowling and fielding strangled the game and ensured KKR finished some 20 runs short in their response.
Another feather in the Sunrisers’ cap is that they played their qualifier against KKR on this Delhi track, and recent familiarity with the conditions will surely be to their advantage. The Lions did triumph in their league phase clash with the Delhi Daredevils here, but that match took place exactly a month ago and a lot has changed since then.
The Sunrisers have done well to bounce back from two defeats at the weekend, and restored confidence – backed by the knowledge that they did the double over Gujarat in the league phase in comprehensive fashion – should be enough to see them home. Take the 2.00 offered by 888sport for them to do just that.
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Top Batsmen Betting Picks
At this stage of the competition, it is generally the big players who shine. Just look at how De Villiers came to the party in the first qualifying match, and how Yuvraj Singh – despite a sub-par IPL 9 by his standards, top scored for the Sunrisers to guide them to a defendable target.
Betting Pick: Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Shikar Dhawan notched scores of 47 and 53 not out against the Lions in league play, and unburdened of the captaincy (David Warner has shown signs of fallibility in recent games despite an outstanding competition) he should stand tall at the head of the innings once again. Back him to top-score for the Sunrisers at 3.75 with 888sport.
We’ve mentioned before that consistency with the bat in hand has been an issue for the Gujarat Lions this IPL season, and while a number of their players have returned respectable run tallies in the tournament none of them ever seem to snowball into a run of form. Aaron Finch has largely failed as an opener, Brendon McCullum’s series hasn’t really taken off at any point and Dwayne Smith’s best work has come down the order at number five.
We have to turn to the skipper then, Raina, to produce a captain’s knock here. He’s top-scored in two of their last three matches so it is not a huge leap of faith, and at 4.33 with bet365 there is plenty of value to be had.
Betting Pick: What a time it has been for Dhawal Kulkarni. Seven wickets in his last three outings have propelled him into the mix for the Purple Cap, and when your list of recent scalps includes Kohli, Gayle, Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and Yusuf Pathan you must be feeling pretty good about yourself. Take the 4.00 offered by bet365 on him to lead the way for the Lions once again.
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In The News
 zeenews.india.com, SRH vs SL: Indian Premier League 9, Qualifier 2 – Players to watch out for in virtual semi-final, 2016