Rajkot: After suffering two consecutive loses in their opening matches of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Gujarat Lions will look to turn their fortunes around when they take on Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Friday.
Gujarat suffered consecutive defeats against two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
KKR outplayed Suresh Raina-led Gujarat by 10 wickets on April 7 while Hyderabad outplayed them by nine wickets on April 8.
Gujarat, who finished third in the previous edition of the IPL by winning nine matches and lost five, however, is struggling from the start in the ongoing edition of the cash-rich tournament.
However, the return of star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja home side will give a big boost to Gujarat as the 28-year-old has the capability to change the momentum of the match at any point.
Jadeja has been advised rest by a medical team of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for at least two weeks.
On the other hand, Pune, who started this year's campaign on a positive note by winning their opening encounter by seven wickets, were thrashed by Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils in their next two matches.
Regular skipper Steve Smith, who missed his last match due to an upset stomach and Manoj Tiwary, who lost his father are expected to play the upcoming encounter against Gujarat.
But, all-rounder Ben Stokes, who was the costliest buy of the 10th edition of the league, has to click this time as the English player failed to prove his worth so far.
In the bowling department, leg-spinner Imran Tahir will be the key factor because the pace trio of Ashok Dinda, Deepak Chahar and Stokes failed to resist the batsmen.
With both the teams struggling to find their rhythm, it will be an important fixture for them as a win here might affect some other teams in the tournament.
Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina (captain), Akshadeep Nath, Shubham Agarwal, Basil Thampi, Dwayne Bravo, Chirag Suri, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Manpreet Gony, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, Dhaval Kulkarni, Dinesh Karthik (Wicketkeeper), Praveen Kumar, Shivil Kaushik, Brandon McCullum, Munaf Patel, Pratham Singh, Jason Roy, Pradeep Sangwan, Jaydev Shah, Shelly Shaurya, Nathusingh, Dwayne Smith, Tejas Baroka, Andre Tye.
Rising Pune Supergiant: Steve Smith (captain), Faf du Plessis, Adam Zampa, Usman Khawja, Mahendra Singh Dhoni(Wicketkeeper), Ajinkya Rahane, Ashok Dinda, Ankus Bains, Rajat Bhatia, Ankit Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Jaskarn Singh, Baba Aparajith, Deepak Chahar, Mayank Agarwal, Dnaiel Christian, Luckie Farguson, Ben Stokes and Manoj Tiwary.