New entrants Gujarat Lions took everyone by surprise by making it to the top of the table in last year’s Indian Premier League. However, the Rajkot-based franchise failed to cross the final hurdle and didn’t make it to the finals.
But, the Gujarat side has all the ingredients to become a champion in the tenth edition of the IPL. The team has a well-balanced squad and has retained their core side in this edition as well. Owned by Intex Technologies, Gujarat Lions (GL) are serving as one of the fillers for banned franchises – Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, who were suspended for two seasons due to illegal betting by their respective owners.
Let’s take a look at some of the key players for Gujarat Lions in 2017:
Skipper Suresh Raina is one of the most bankable players in the history of the Indian Premier League. Raina is an experienced campaigner when it comes to the shorter format of the game, he is also the second-highest run scorer in the league’s history. The southpaw has an experience of 245 T20s under his belt, he has scored 6430 runs at an average of 33.14 in 231 innings. Raina’s strike rate of close to 140 is another noticeable aspect of his batting.
Sir Ravindra Jadeja is the flavour of the season for Indian cricket. The Saurashtra-born cricketer is a match-winner in almost every format of the game. Jadeja has the knack of breaking important partnerships and making a contribution with the bat in the lower order. He has played 183 T20s in his career, scored 1887 runs and picked up 119 wickets. If Lions want to do well this season, Jadeja will have to continue his good show in T20s as well.
The powerful Kiwi batsman is capable of tearing apart any bowling attack on his day. Brendon McCullum is known to provide fireworks at the top of the order. After his impressive performances in Australia’s Big Bash League, McCullum will be more than eager to repeat his performance with the bat in this edition of the IPL. In his 92 IPL outings so far, Brendon has scored 2434 runs that include two magnificent hundreds and 11 fifties.
Gujarat Lions top-order boasts of some of the world’s biggest hitters in their ranks. Finch who is known for his blistering performances in the T20 circuit, played a crucial hand last year in taking Gujarat to the top on the table. The Aussie struck five half-centuries in 13 matches he played last year, he scored 393 runs in 13 games at an average of 40.