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Kanpur: Gujarat Lions players Suresh Raina and Brendon McCullum during an IPL match between Gujarat Lions and Mumbai Indians at Green Park in Kanpur on May 21, 2016. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Gujarat Lions will have to fight off the fiery pacers of the Sunrisers Hyderabad when the two teams clash in the IPL Qualifier 2 on Friday

Eyeing a shot at the title in their debut season, Gujarat Lions will have to fight off the fiery pacers of the Sunrisers Hyderabad when the two teams clash in the IPL Qualifier 2 on Friday.

The Lions, led by Suresh Raina, have been impressive in their first ever IPL appearance, finishing on top of the table en route to the Play-offs.

They had one foot in the summit clash when they had Royal Challengers Bangalore on the mat in first Qualifier but AB de Villiers pulled the rug from under their feet with his
sensational batting.

But the job is not going to be easy for the Lions since they are up against a team, which has beaten them twice in the league stage. Both the times, they had failed to defend their
totals against the Sunrisers.

The Sunrisers have lost a bit of an edge in the absence of impactful Ashish Nehra, who is now recuperating from a knee surgery, but at the same time Bhuvneshwar Kumar and
Bangladeshi pacer Mustafizur Rahman have actually managed to bowl Sunrisers to a position of strength.

In the Eliminator too, skipper David Warner used Bhubaneshwar and Mustafizur to create a lot of pressure on Kolkata Knight Riders’ batsmen and eventually they cracked.

The Feroz Shah Kotla track has something for the pacers even as the wickets here have gone a bit slow as the tournament progressed. And the way the Lions’ fast bowler Dhawal Kulkarni bowled against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Qualifier 1, it looks like the batsmen are again going to have a tough time.

The strategy to straightaway go bang-bang against the bowlers will not work and the batsmen will need to spend some time at the crease before opening their arms. This is exactly what Yuvraj Singh did on Wednesday against KKR and his innings made all the difference in the outcome of the match.

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