The VIVO Ipl 2016 is into it’s most crucial stage as it is now into the pre-final stage, virtual semi-finals if you may – qualifier 1. The format for the same is – the 1st and 2nd team first play against each other, the winning qualifies for the finals and the loser gets to play the winner between 3rd and 4th spot. If instance, 2nd place side loses it’s game against the team ranked at 1, it therefore gets another chance at qualification by playing against the team at 4th spot (hypothetically beating team at 3rd spot), the winner between the team at 2nd and team at 4th spot will make the finals and play the team at 1st spot.

Gujarat Lions vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
Date 24 May 2016
Venue M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
158/10 (20)   159/6 (18.2) 
Royal Challengers won by 4 wickets

Gujarat Lions and RCB were placed at 1st and 2nd spot, the match took place at M.Chimaswamy (Bangalore), the advantage and the momentum was clearly with Bangalore but you never know come what may in pressure matches such as this.

The RCB won the toss and as per their strength, elected to chase. Both the sides rightly DID NOT change their playing XI – going in to the match with their strongest units.

Gujarat Lions being put into bat couldn’t have hoped for a worse start. The 2nd over of the match was given to Iqbal Abdulla – a bold move on part of Kohli, handing over the ball to a spinner and that too someone who likes to flight the ball – giving air for it to spin. The boldness of Kohli rightly clicked and Abdulla put Lions on the backfoot – grabbing the crucial wickets of it’s openers in McCullum (1)  and Finch (4).

The Lions captain in Raina also failed to play a captain’s knock as he departed to Watson- who replaced Abdulla who got just the 1 over, in spite of getting 2 wickets in his first. Again, aggressive captaincy from Kohli to keep rotating the bowlers.

It seemed that it’ll be yet another one sided affair but some application shown by Smith guided Lions to a total that was not only respectable but also gave them just a slight chance of fighting back into the match – Smith made 73 in 41 balls which included 5 fours and 6 sixes. Watson shined with the ball for RCB with 4 wickets for 29 runs in his 4 overs.

RCB has a very strong chasing unit with Gayle, Kohli and Villiers as their top 3 but what transpired in the early overs of their chase was extremely disheartening for the RCB fans – at 29 for 5, RCB had already lost Gayle, Kohli, Rahul, Watson and Sachin Baby, all this in the first 6 powerplay users.

It seemed that RCB were well and out of the match, the possibility of making another 130 runs with only 5 wickets in hand seemed distant and to make matters worse – they also lost Binny in the 10th over and now found themselves in deep trouble 68-6.

Upon the fall of Binny, Villiers took the innings forward and what followed next could only be defined as “Villiers magic” – he has time and again shown his out of extraordinary cricketing skills  but in a match wherein a place in the finals is at stake – playing as per one’s natural talent gets tough but NOT for Villiers.

Villiers along with Iqbal Abdulla structured a partnership that did not get RCB close to the target but in fact took them beyond the finishing line – putting up a partnership of 91 runs in 10 overs, Villiers was the main aggressor with a marvelous 47 ball 79 and Iqbal Abdulla played the role of a perfect support from the other end, making a 25 ball 33 (with hat-trick of fours in the 18th over from Praveen Kumar).

At one time RCB were on the verge of being eliminated from the tournament, RCB’s only chances of qualifying for playoffs meant winning 4 out of 4 games and not only they did that; they have won the first qualifier and are now through to the finals – talk about destiny!

Lions will play the winner of the match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders.

GL vs RCB Squads for 25 May 2016 Qualifier 1 Match

Gujarat Lions

Suresh Raina (C), Akshdeep Nath, Dwayne Bravo, Paras Dogra, Eklavya Dwivedi , James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, Dinesh Karthik (W), Shivil Kaushik, Dhawal Kulkarni, Praveen Kumar, Sarabjit Ladda, A Mishra, Brendon McCullum, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaydev Shah, Umang Sharma, Dwayne Smith, Dale Steyn, Pravin Tambe, Andrew Tye

Royal Challengers Bangalore

Virat Kohli (C), Varun Aaron, Abu Nechim, Sreenath Aravind, Samuel Badree, Stuart Binny, Yuzvendra Chahal, AB de Villiers (W), Praveen Dubey, Chris Gayle, Travis Head, Iqbal Abdulla, Kedar Jadhav, Akshay Karnewar, Sarfaraz Khan, Vikramjeet Malik, Mandeep Singh, Adam Milne, Harshal Patel, Lokesh Rahul, Parveez Rasool, Kane Richardson, Sachin Baby, Mitchell Starc, Vikas Tokas, Shane Watson, David Wiese, Tabraiz Shamsi, Chris Jordan


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