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Playoff window closing fast on Lions

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Bangar: Gujarat's chance of making playoffs very slim (2:49)

Sanjay Bangar and Shaun Tait on Gujarat Lions' season, and what they need to do in the finale of the group stage (2:49)

Match facts

Delhi Daredevils v Gujarat Lions
Delhi, May 4, 2017
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)

Head-to-head

Overall: Delhi Daredevils and Gujarat Lions will play each other for the first time this season, and their head-to-head record stands at 1-1.

In the news

There are no further updates on Daredevils captain Zaheer Khan's recovery from a hamstring injury. He is expected to be assessed once more on the day of the game. Daredevils have already lost Sam Billings, who has left to resume England duty. It is understood that their South African players - Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada - will be available until May 7.

With Jason Roy having left on international duty as well, Lions' roster only has five fit overseas players - Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Aaron Finch, James Faulkner and Chirag Suri.

Qualification scenario

Both teams are languishing in the bottom half with six points, but the situation is slightly more dire for Lions, who need to win all their games to get to 14 points and have any chance of qualification. One loss will eliminate them, as four teams already have more than 12 points. Even with 14, Lions will need other results to go their way to qualify, but they will at least have a shot at finishing in the top four. Three of their remaining four games are against the relatively weaker teams, though: Daredevils, home and away, and Kings XI, away. Apart from that they also have a home game, in Kanpur, against Sunrisers.

Daredevils are almost in the same situation as Lions, but they have an extra game in hand. They also have four home games to play, against Lions, Mumbai Indians, Pune, and Royal Challengers, plus an away match against Lions. If they win at least four of the five, they might still have a chance.

The likely XIs

Delhi Daredevils 1 Sanju Samson, 2 Karun Nair (capt), 3 Shreyas Iyer, 4 Rishabh Pant (wk), 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Corey Anderson, 7 Chris Morris, 8 Jayant Yadav, 9 Kagiso Rabada/Pat Cummins, 10 Amit Mishra/Shahbaz Nadeem, 11 Mohammed Shami

Gujarat Lions 1 Brendon McCullum, 2 Ishan Kishan, 3 Suresh Raina (capt), 4 Aaron Finch, 5 Dwayne Smith, 6 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 James Faulkner, 9 Pradeep Sangwan, 10 Basil Thampi, 11 Ankit Soni

Strategy punt

  • Sanju Samson has a strike-rate of 153 against fast bowling this season. The gift of timing helps him exploit fielding restrictions, provided there is pace on the ball. Force him to play spin, however, and his strike-rate drops to 107; it dips further to 75 over 20 balls faced in the Powerplay. Those numbers might make Ankit Soni and Ravindra Jadeja tie up their laces quicker so they can demand the new ball.

  • Daredevils have a way to stifle Lions' top-order, too, with Chris Morris. He has dismissed Suresh Raina three times in 17 balls, giving away only 12 runs, and has also knocked over Brendon McCullum twice in 13 deliveries, at the cost of 17 runs.

Stats that matter

  • If Daredevils are truly perturbed by Samson's ups-and-downs, they can try opening with Shreyas Iyer. In 30 T20 innings at the top, he averages 30.78 and strikes at 132. In 17 innings at all other positions, he averages 16.40.

  • There is, however, a reason to persist with Iyer in the middle order. In the IPL, he averages 51 against spinners, and hits them at 136 per 100 balls. Against pace, the corresponding figures come down to 22 and 122.

  • Daredevils have had four different combinations at the top this season, which puts them on an even footing with Kings XI Punjab and Gujarat Lions, and behind only Royal Challengers Bangalore. Those are the teams that make up the bottom four in the points table. Daredevils' biggest opening stand amounted to 53 runs - the lowest among all teams this year - and their average scoring rate of 7.81 is the second worst.

  • Speaking of openers, Dwayne Smith has had a torrid time in T20s over the last one year. He averages 23, strikes at 122, and has bagged seven ducks, a tally no one has surpassed.

  • Moving on to closers, Lions' Basil Thampi has made an excellent impression in his debut season. Among uncapped players in their debut season, he has bowled more deliveries (78) in the last five overs than anyone else.

  • Daredevils have their own back-end specialist. Morris is one of nine men to have bowled at least 10 overs in the death in IPL 2017. His economy rate of 7.76 ranks third in that list after Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Andrew Tye.