New Delhi: Two of the most consistent teams in IPL 2023, Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings are set to clash in Qualifiers 1 to book their spot in the finals. Hardik Pandya’s GT finished at the top with 10 wins in 14 games, while MS Dhoni’s CSK stands second in the points table with 17 points. Super Kings will love to milk home advantage but will face strong resistance.
Both of the teams have a strong opening pair and GT will be happy to have in-form Shubman Gill by their side. Gill has proved to be a match winner scoring centuries at a quick rate while Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway have done it for CSK. While both teams have a formidable pace attack, GT has a slight edge when it comes to spinners.
Can Pandya lead GT to consecutive finals?
Defending champions have Shubman Gill, who has scored 680 runs at an average of 56.66 and a strike rate of 152.46 and more importantly, he has scored two centuries this season. With Vijay Shankar emerging when needed, GT’s batting looks impenetrable. They have Rahul Tewatia and David Miller to finish things for them and Hardik Pandya backing his players has worked in their favour.
On the other hand, Wriddhiman Saha, who started the tournament with a blast has scored only 14 runs in the last three innings, and GT would need him to stand up to the occasion in playoffs. Skipper Pandya has also managed 12 runs in his last two innings and has not exactly played up to his potential.
GT has arguably the best bowling attack this season with Mohammed Shami and Rashid Khan leading the race for the purple cap with 24 scalps. On a spin-friendly track in Chennai, Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmed have the ability to demolish batting line-ups. With Mohit Sharma’s comeback, Pandya has got a great option to bowl in the death overs.
Will Dhoni & co deliver at Chepauk?
Devon Conway has scored 585 runs while Gaikwad has 504 and they have proven to be one of the top opening pairs this season. With Conway and Gaikwad, CSK would want Ajinkya Rahane to deliver like he did during the start of his season. With Shivam Dube, MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja, CSK need not worry about the death overs as they all are capable of hitting it out of the park on demand.
While Tushar Deshpande is the leading wicket-taker for CSK, it is the Sri Lankan pace duo of Matheesha Pathirana and Maheesh Theekshana that have impressed the most. With the pacers picking up wickets, CSK would want Jadeja to get the breakthroughs on a turning track.
While GT looks the team to beat and has an upper hand on paper, CSK has the one of the most successful captains in the history of the game. It will surely be an entertaining clash and the losing team will have a chance in Qualifiers 2.