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Qualifier 1 saw a stunning chase by RCB after they had lost 5 wickets for less than 30. The Eliminator was a wonderful exhibition of quality death bowling by SRH to stifle KKR’s chase. Qualifier 2 promises to be a cracker as well – Gujarat Lions v Sunrisers Hyderabad (GL v SRH). Though it’s called a qualifier, this is another knockout game. The winner will go on to face RCB in the IPL finals, while the loser goes home.
The Teams: GL ended the playoff stage at the top of the table, which means that even after their crushing loss to RCB in Qualifier 1, they have a shot at redemption. After setting RCB a target of 159, a brilliant spell from Kulkarni had RCB at 29-5, their worst start all season, but GL was unable to seal a spot in the finals thanks to an ABdV special. Now, Raina and his boys will want to remind the world why GL were the only team with 9 wins in the group stage. SRH on the other hand, crushed a formidable KKR in the Eliminator, thanks to a master class of death bowling by Bhuvi, Henriques, Cutting and ‘The Fizz’. The SRH bowling will be tasked with keeping a formidable GL batting lineup quiet on Friday night.
The Venue: The Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi. This ground historically favours the chasing team, except when SRH bats first. There isn’t much in it for the spinners, and having just hosted a game here on Wednesday, the pitch will likely offer assistance to batsmen.
Our picks for your fantasy team
Dwayne Smith – Although Smith hasn’t delivered with both bat and ball in any one game, Smith has performed with either in each of the last 4 games for GL, including one magical spell of 4-8 and a blistering 73 run knock off just 41 balls. Dwayne Smith has played the IPL Knockout stages before for both the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings, including a half century in last year’s final, so his familiarity with the stage will be an asset for GL.
Ben Cutting – In only his 2nd game for SRH, Cutting showed why he can be a significant threat to any opposition with the ball, sending down 3 overs and picking up 1-14. Though he didn’t contribute with the bat, he has a T20 strike rate of nearly 153, and Warner may rely on him for some big hits in the death overs.
Ravindra Jadeja – Sir Jadeja is never one to be taken lightly. He has bowled more than 40 overs at under 8 runs an over, picking up 8 wickets in the process, and is no mug with bat. Jadeja will relish the big stage and look to step up as one of Gujarat’s more seasoned players.
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(Original cover artwork by Ishita Mohanty. She tweets here.)