With their play-off spot already secured, the top-flight Gujarat Titans would be looking for nothing less than a win to secure a top-2 spot when they face Chennai Super Kings in a Premier League match. Indian Sunday.
Under the brilliant leadership of Hardik Pandya, GT exceeded expectations to book their place in the play-off with two games less.
GT currently lead the standings with 18 points from 12 games and a win on Sunday will more or less secure them a top 2 spot, meaning they’ll have one more shot at qualifying for the final. Located in second-to-last place, defending champions CSK are out of the competition and will play for pride in their final two matches.
While GT secured their place in the play-off after a comprehensive 62-run win over Lucknow Super Giants, CSK fell to a five-wicket loss to Mumbai Indians. Young fly-half Shubman Gill, skipper Hardik, David Miller, Wriddhiman Saha and Rahul Tewatia have been mainstays for GT throughout the season and they hope to continue in the same vein.
Much of the credit for GT’s phenomenal run in their debut season goes to their ability to defend themselves from adverse situations. But lately, GT’s batting unit has been lacking and Hardik would be looking for consistent performance from his hitters.
In their final match, only Gill (63 not knocked out) made a substantial score and battered throughout the innings to bring GT to a modest 144 for 4, which they defended with ease. GT team management also hopes that Hardik, Miller and Tewatia will return to racing.
But GT’s main strength is its powerful bowling attack, made up of world-class bowlers like Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson and Rashid Khan. Shami, the team’s top taker with 16 scalps, was deadly off the bat, while Ferguson’s ability to generate pace is cause for concern for any batting lineup.
Rashid has also regained his mojo after a slow start, scalping four wickets in the last game and when he sings he can tear apart any batting line-up. Yash Dayal was also among the wickets but his economy is a concern, while R Sai Kishore complemented Rashid perfectly in his opener.
GT’s main recipe for success has been a considerably mellowed Hardik, who seems to relish the responsibility of captain. CSK, meanwhile, have endured a nightmarish season with nothing working out for them from the start.
MS Dhoni’s decision to hand the captaincy to Ravindra Jadeja backfired as the all-rounder never looked into his comfort zone with the responsibility, forcing him to return leadership to the talismanic stumper. If that wasn’t enough, there were rumors of a fallout between CSK and Jadeja, who was released from the side before their last match due to a bruised rib. Devon Conway played at bat for CSK in the limited chances he had, while Shivam Dube and Ruturaj Gaikwad would look to prove a point.
If batting was an issue, CSK’s bowling unit lacks quality in the absence of Deepak Chahar and Adam Milne. Mukesh Chaudhary and Simranjeet Singh were impressive but lacked quality with the new ball, while Moeen Ali and Maheesh Theekshana are expected to share responsibility for the spin department.
The Teams (Since):
Gujarat Titans: Hardik Pandya (c), Abhinav Manohar, David Miller, Gurkeerat Singh, B Sai Sudharsan, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Matthew Wade, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Wriddhiman Saha, Alzarri Joseph, Darshan Nalkande, Lockie Ferguson, Mohammed Shami, Noor Ahmad, Pradeep Sangwan, Rashid Khan, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Varun Aaron, Yash Dayal.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (c), Moeen Ali, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Ambati Rayadu, Robin Uthappa, Mitchell Santner, Chris Jordan, Adam Milne, Devon Conway, Shivam Dube, Dwaine Pretorius, Maheesh Theekshana, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Tushar Deshpande, KM Asif , C Hari Nishaanth, N Jagadeesan, Subhranshu Senapati, K Bhagath Verma, Prashant Solanki, Simarjeet Singh, Mukesh Choudhary.
Start of the game at 3:30 p.m.