Royal Challengers Bangalore v Gujarat Lions
Bengaluru, April 27, 2017
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)
This season: A century opening stand between Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli set up a Royal Challengers total of 213 in the first innings. That was enough to ensure a 21-run win despite a 44-ball 72 from Brendon McCullum.
Overall: The teams have met four times, with Royal Challengers winning thrice and losing once. They have batted first in three of the four matches, posting totals of 180, 248 and 213.
In the news
With the allrounder Dwayne Bravo ruled out of the entire season with a hamstring injury, Lions have signed up Irfan Pathan as a replacement, who will now be playing for his sixth IPL franchise.
The last match at the Chinnaswamy, between Royal Challengers and Sunrisers Hyderabad, was washed out without a ball bowled. According to the Meteorological Centre's forecast for Thursday, Bengaluru can expect "one or two spells of rain or thundershowers".
The washout against Sunrisers left Royal Challengers with only five points from eight games. Their hopes for making the playoffs, therefore, hang by a thread. Even six wins out of their six remaining games may not guarantee qualification.
The likely XIs
Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Chris Gayle/Travis Head/Shane Watson, 2 Virat Kohli (capt), 3 AB de Villiers, 4 Kedar Jadhav (wk), 5 Mandeep Singh, 6 Stuart Binny, 7 Pawan Negi, 8 Tymal Mills/Adam Milne, 9 Samuel Badree, 10 S Aravind, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Gujarat Lions: 1 Brendon McCullum, 2 Aaron Finch/Jason Roy/James Faulkner, 3 Suresh Raina (capt), 4 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 5 Dwayne Smith, 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Ishan Kishan, 8 Andrew Tye, 9 Basil Thampi, 10 Shubham Agarwal/Praveen Kumar/Dhawal Kulkarni, 11 Nathu Singh
Brendon McCullum has a poor record in T20s against both Samuel Badree (26 off 34 balls, two dismissals) and Yuzvendra Chahal (20 off 23 balls, three dismissals) - a case, perhaps, for Royal Challengers to bowl their legspinners in tandem with the new ball. The last time they met Lions, Royal Challengers opened the bowling with two spinners in Chahal and Pawan Negi.
Stats that matter
Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers have outstanding records against Lions. Kohli averages 91.00 and has a strike-rate of 160.58 against them, while de Villiers averages 228.00 and scores at 198.26.
Lions did not play Dhawal Kulkarni in their previous match, against Kings XI Punjab, but could include him at Chinnaswamy. In the IPL, he has conceded less than eight an over against Kohli, Gayle and de Villiers - his economy rate against Gayle is a mere 6.77. He has also dismissed Kohli four times and Gayle three times.
Ravindra Jadeja's economy rate of 9.70 is the worst for any spinner who has sent down a minimum of 50 balls this season. He has only taken two wickets at 97.00 - the worst average of any spinner this season.
The first six overs of Royal Challengers' innings should make for interesting viewing. They have the worst Powerplay run-rate (6.78) of all the teams this season, while Lions have the worst economy rate (9.80).
Gayle has scored only 69 off 70 balls in the Powerplay this season, with a 61.5% dot-ball percentage, the worst among all batsmen this season.
Jadeja has a good T20 record against Kohli, conceding only 104 runs to him off 95 balls. He has, however, struggled against Gayle, de Villiers, Shane Watson and Kedar Jadhav, conceding more than nine an over against each of them.
Of all the spinners to bowl a minimum of five overs in the Powerplay this season, Yuzvendra Chahal has the best balls-per-boundary ratio - 10.00. Harbhajan Singh (9.00) is second on that list. Sunil Narine (6.75) is a distant third.