The squads of both teams looked balanced on paper. But the teams will not be able to field their strongest elevens in the first match as they will be missing some of their player owing to national duty.
Let’s take a look at the probable elevens that the teams will go in with
Openers: Shubman Gill and Rahamanullah Gurbaz (O)
Rahmanaullah Gurbaz was roped in by Gujarat as a replacement for Jason Roy, who pulled out of the tournament. Gurbaz has a T20 strike rate of 144.1, so he will be a perfect partner for Shubman Gill. While Gill will go on about his business steadily, Gurbaz will be aggressive from the beginning.
Middle Order: Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Gurkeerat Singh
Wriddhiman Saha will provide solidity to the batting order in the middle phase. Gurkeerat will be entrusted with the job of going in and keeping the scoreboard ticking along with Wriddhiman Saha.
All-Rounders: Hardik Pandya (C), Vijay Shankar, Jayant Yadav, Rashid Khan
Hardik Pandya is reportedly going to bowl in this season of the Indian T20 League. Vijay Shankar and Hardik will also have the responsibility of giving the team strong finishes. Jayant Yadav and Rashid Khan will be the spinning options for Gujarat. Along with this, both of them will be expected to contribute if and when they get a chance with the bat.
Bowlers: Lockie Ferguson (O), Mohammed Shami, Dominic Drakes (O)
Gujarat team combination will have three pace bowling options. Mohammed Shami and Lockie Ferguson will have the responsibility of picking up early wickets, while Dominic Drakes will be used as a death bowling option.
Openers: KL Rahul (C), Quinton de Kock (WK) (O)
Rahul and De Kock appear to be the most dangerous opening partnership of this year’s Indian T20 League. Both of them can be aggressive from the very start and take the match away from the opposition within a blink of an eye.
Middle Order: Manish Pandey
Manish Pandey will be the only proper middle-order batter for Lucknow in the first match. His job will be to keep rotating strikes and then shift gears toward the end of the innings if he lasts that long.
All-Rounders: Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya, K Gowtham, Mohsin Khan
The middle-order of Lucknow will suffer from the absence of their overseas players. Hooda and Krunal will have to take up added responsibility. Gowtham and Mohsin Khan will be expected to be the pinch-hitters for the team. All these four players will also have to squeeze in some good overs for their team as well.
Bowlers: Dushmanta Chameera (O), Avesh Khan, Ravi Bishnoi, Ankit Rajpoot
Chameera and Ankit Rajpoot will be the new ball options for Lucknow. Ravi Bishnoi will be the main bowler for them in the middle overs, accompanied by the likes of Gowtham and Krunal Pandya. Avesh Khan will be the main death-bowling option for Lucknow.