Pune: On a slippery slope after back-to-back losses, Gujarat Titans will need their batters to fire when they take on high-flying Lucknow Super Giants as both teams look to seal an IPL play-offs berth here on Tuesday. The two new entrants are having a dream run in their maiden season.
While Gujarat led the points table for the most part of the league, Lucknow moved ahead of them to take the top spot. The Hardik Pandya-led Gujarat side’s winning streak came to an end with back-to-back losses against Punjab Kings and Mumbai Indians last week.
Both teams have 16 points each from 11 outings and a win for either of them will confirm the passage to the next stage.
LSG, who have won their last four games, would be brimming with confidence as they head to the fixture with a morale-boosting 75-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders.
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KL Rahul has led from the front and the opener is the second-highest run-scorer in the tournament, collecting 451 runs from 11 games with two hundreds and as many fifties.
The team has relied heavily on him to get the job done with the bat. But the likes of Quinton de Kock and Deepak Hooda have taken more responsibility in the recent games which will definitely take the pressure off Rahul. Their bowling unit has been right on the mark.
While LSG were able to defend 153 against Punjab Kings, they polished off KKR for just 101, with pacers Avesh Khan and Jason Holder proving to be too hot to handle for the former champions.
Pacers Mohsin Khan (5.35) and Sri Lanka’s Dushmantha Chameera (7.90) have bowled economically as has Krunal Pandya (6.64), while Ravi Bishnoi (8.23) and Avesh (8.14) have been a tad expensive. But the bowling unit has often found a way to get over the line.
Gujarat’s stellar run in the IPL can be attributed to their ability to come back from tough situations. They had different players winning games for them but that was not the case against MI when they failed to get nine runs off the last over in what should have been an easy run chase.
The batting department needs to be more consistent. The top-order batters have failed to take their innings deep. Shubman Gill has endured a hot and cold season, while Wriddhiman Saha has shown good intent. Skipper Pandya, David Miller, and Rahul Tewatia have also looked off-color recently and need to get into the groove again in the business end of the tournament.
Gujarat have a lethal bowling attack, studded with world-class bowlers like Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson and Rashid Khan.
But Shami hasn’t been able to live up to expectations recently. The senior India pacer has given away 124 runs while taking only two wickets in the last three games.
However, he can wreak havoc with the new ball while Ferguson’s ability to generate extra pace is a cause of concern for any batting line-up.
Rashid continues to remain economical but the star Afghan spinner will be eager for more wickets.
The Teams (from):
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.
Lucknow Super Giants: KL Rahul (c), Manan Vohra, Evin Lewis, Manish Pandey, Quinton De Kock, Ravi Bishnoi, Dushmantha Chameera, Mohsin Khan, Mayank Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Andrew Tye, Marcus Stoinis, Kyle Mayers, Karan Sharma, Krishnappa Gowtham, Ayush Badoni, Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya. Jason Holder.
Match starts at 7.30 PM.