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IPL 2017 Player Battles: Top 4 player encounters to look for in the Mumbai Indians vs Gujarat Lions match

Mumbai will look to continue their fine run of form against a Gujarat side that finally bagged a win last time around.

Top 5 / Top 10 15 Apr 2017, 21:13 IST
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Mumbai Indians will be looking to extend their winning run in the tournament

The city of Mumbai gears up for an epic clash as the Mumbai Indians host the Gujarat Lions in the first match of the doubleheader on Sunday at the Wankhede Stadium. The sea of blue is all set to welcome their heroes after they registered a tense four-wicket win against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Chasing a modest total of 143 runs, they were down and out at 7 for 4 largely due to a hat-trick by Samuel Badree but a crucial partnership between Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya for the sixth wicket ensured that the Mumbai Indians managed to get over the line. 

The Gujarat Lions, on the other hand, are finally off the mark in the tenth edition of the tournament with a comprehensive seven-wicket win over the Rising Pune Supergiant. Electing to bowl first, the Lions restricted the Supergiant to 171 courtesy a brilliant five-wicket haul including a hat-trick from their debutant Andrew Tye. Bowling has been their weak link in the first two matches of the season and a rejigged bowling unit with the inclusion of Ravindra Jadeja and Andrew Tye will surely help their cause. 

The Gujarat Lions, since their inception last season, have not been defeated by the Mumbai Indians in two encounters. While the visitors would look to maintain that record, the hosts would be eager to break this jinx at their fortress in front of their fans. 

Take a look at the top four player battles in this exciting contest:

#1 Brendon McCullum vs Lasith Malinga 

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McCullum will need to see off Malinga early before launching an attack

The most aggressive batsman in the modern era, Brendon McCullum struck form for the Gujarat Lions at the right time in the tournament. Chasing 172 against the Supergiant, the Lions needed something special from their experienced player and he did not disappoint. He struck an explosive 49 in 32 balls to dismantle the bowling of the Pune outfit and give his team much-needed impetus at the top of the order. 

The Mumbai Indians were without the services of Lasith Malinga in their previous encounter against the Royal Challengers Bangalore due to illness and he is expected to recover in time for this all-important clash. Malinga has been the spearhead of the Mumbai Indians bowling unit and he will shoulder the responsibility of the bowling attack on Sunday. 

McCullum likes to hit through the line and create a bit of width to ensure a free swing of the bat but will be unable to follow the same pattern against Malinga due to his unusual action. The Sri Lankan pacer has a variety of deliveries up his sleeve and with loads of experience, he will be looking to counter McCullum with his wide array of variations. 

The most explosive opening batsman in T20 cricket will be up against the most feared bowler in the shortest format and it ensures a mouth-watering clash at the Wankhede Stadium. 

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