Lions opt to bowl; Faulkner, Head return

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Royal Challengers Bangalore v Gujarat Lions, IPL 2017, Bangalore

Suresh Raina, the Gujarat Lions captain, said his bowlers’ inability to defend totals and dew influenced his decision to bowl first against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

James Faulkner will be playing his second game this season (Photo: BCCI)

Lions made three changes: James Faulkner, the allrounder, Ishan Kishan and Ankit Soni, the legspinner, replaced Dwayne Smith, Akshdeep Nath and Shubham Agarwal. This will be the first representative T20 game for Soni, who was brought in as a replacement for left-arm wristspinner Shivil Kaushik,

Royal Challengers made two changes from the side that was shot out for 49, the lowest IPL score, in Kolkata three nights ago. A back niggle for Tymal Mills meant an opportunity for Australia batsman Travis Head in the top order. Aniket Choudhary, the left-arm seamer, was brought back in for his second game, at the expense of Stuart Binny.

Virat Kohli, the Royal Challengers captain didn’t mind batting first as “chasing would be difficult” on a surface that has been on the slower side, far different to the previous years. “The situation is similar to last year. It’s time we step up and play the cricket we’re known to play,” Kohli said. “Batting second is difficult, that is what we had in mind coming into the toss.”

Lions are currently last, while Royal Challengers are sixth. Both sides are at the point of no return. Royal Challengers might need to win each of their remaining games to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: 1 Virat Kohli (capt), 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Mandeep Singh, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Kedar Jadhav, 6 Travis Head, 7 Pawan Negi, 8 S Aravind, 9 Aniket Choudhary, 10 Adam Milne, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

Gujarat Lions: 1 Brendon McCullum, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Suresh Raina (capt), 4 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 5 Ishan Kishan, 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 James Faulkner, 8 Andrew Tye, 9 Basil Thampi, 10 Ankit Soni, 11 Nathu Singh. (ESPNCricinfo)

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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