On Friday, the Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Titans will face off in IPL 2023 Qualifier 2.
Akash Madhwal’s breathtaking bowling performance against the Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator would have given the five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians wings, and they would be hoping to beat the defending champions Gujarat Titans in Qualifier 2 on Friday at the world’s largest stadium in Ahmedabad. Mumbai Indians defeated LSG by an 81-run margin at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday night, riding on Madhwal’s amazing figures of five for five.
The big MI triumph served as a reminder to opponents that they could play to the occasion even in the absence of great pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Jofra Archer, as well as batting stalwart Tilak Varma.
MI takes pleasure in flourishing when the odds are stacked against them, something they have done all season. Despite limited resources and finishing last in the previous edition, Rohit Sharma’s side has battled hard this season to be in contention for a sixth IPL crown.
Cameron Green, Suryakumar Yadav, and Tim David have responded well to the difficulties and now constitute the batting department’s backbone, with the youthful Nehal Wadhera also making a significant impact, and the opening combination of Rohit and Ishan Kishan doing a good job.
It would be a difficult task for the Titans’ bowling attack, led by Mohammad Shami (26 wickets in 15 matches), to overcome MI’s batting, which has improved significantly towards the conclusion of the competition.
With the ball, Madhwal has been a revelation. After a three-wicket burst that set up victory in their vital last league game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, the right-arm spinner produced a fantasy session of 3.5-0-5-5 against LSG to propel his team into the virtual semifinal.
Veterans Piyush Chawla (21 wickets in 15 matches) and Jason Behrendorff (14 wickets in 11 matches) have also been outstanding, and an otherwise costly Chris Jordan had a 2-1-7-1 effort in the Eliminator.
Gujarat Titans, who were overwhelmed and outgunned by Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings in Qualifier 1, will have one more chance to rally and put their best foot forward in familiar conditions here in order to qualify for their second IPL final on the trot.
The reigning champions will need their batting to click in harmony, as Shubman Gill and Vijay Shankar have done the most of the heavy lifting with the bat in the past few games.
Gill may have had a bad day against CSK, but his two centuries in the final stages of the league round make him Mumbai Indians’ most dangerous threat.
With 722 runs in 15 matches at an average of 55.53, including two centuries and four fifties, the India batter is 421 runs ahead of the second-best GT batter, Shankar, who has 301 runs in 12 matches. He is also just eight runs shy of passing RCB’s Faf du Plessis for the most runs in this IPL.
The Titans will also expect more from their skipper, Hardik Pandya, who has been in poor form recently, with scores of 8, DNB, 8, 4 and 25 in his past five games. David Miller, the Titans’ bottom middle-order lynchpin, has also gone without a fifty this season and has failed to reach double digits in his previous three appearances.
The showdown here on Friday night will be GT and MI’s third encounter this season, with each club winning one game.
After the Titans destroyed MI by 55 runs in a one-sided encounter, Suryakumar scored his maiden IPL century to lift MI to a 27-run triumph — a margin that might have been much larger had Rashid Khan not hammered a savage 32-ball 72.