We’re back where we started this season, with the same two clubs going head-to-head. One side hopes to improve on an outstanding record, while the other aims for a new era of domination.
The big picture: Another Dhoni-Hardik matchup
The IPL 2023 final between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings was delayed into the reserve day in Ahmedabad due to on-again, off-again weather, without even a toss on Sunday. On Monday, the two teams will so travel back to Motera. Ironically, that was also the prediction for Sunday evening. The forecast is for more gloomy skies and a low probability of rain.
For a full 20 overs for each side to be played, the game must begin at 9.35 pm local time. 12.06 am is the deadline for a five-over shootout. If the circumstances forbid even that, the teams will engage in a Super Over to decide the winner. As per the playing circumstances from the previous year, if that is also not achievable, the Titans will be crowned the victors due to their superior league-stage point total.
On Sunday, when it temporarily stopped raining, “the conditions” were “quite good even after three hours of rain, so we were quite hopeful that we would have a game tonight,” according to umpire Nitin Menon. Unfortunately, it started pouring once more shortly after, and the referees decided to play again on Monday at 10.55 pm Fans who had tickets for May 28 will now be permitted to enter the stadium with their current physical tickets on May 29, according to a statement from the BCCI.
The season opener between MS Dhoni’s CSK and Hardik Pandya’s Titans took place on the same pitch as the final. Thus, the competition has, in a sense, completed a circle.
The Titans had won that first game. CSK earlier this week tied the game with a convincing victory in Qualifier 1. But in Chennai, the game was played on a sluggish, spinning surface. In Ahmedabad, the pitches have been significantly more favourable for batters because the ball comes into the bat wonderfully.
Additionally, CSK has lost each of their three games thus far in Ahmedabad. They have played at least three games at this location, the only one in the IPL where they still need to record a victory. Meanwhile, the Titans have six wins in their last nine games.
Having said that, CSK—the second-most successful side in the tournament’s history—will be aiming to improve upon their already stellar record. With one more trophy, they would tie the Mumbai Indians for the most with five. On the other hand, Titans will be eager to prove their superiority. They shocked everyone by winning the title in their first season. They will be concentrating on getting two out of two.
In addition to the conflict between two teams that share the same philosophies of supporting their players, maintaining a laid-back team dynamic, and keeping things simple, there is also the subplot of Hardik, the protégé, trying to surpass Dhoni, the mentor.
No player has appeared in more IPL finals than Dhoni, who will play in his eleventh (and tenth with CSK) on Sunday. Before 2023, Hardik participated in five games; he never came out on the losing end. Hardik has often said Dhoni has taught him much in and beyond cricket. The lessons he has learned will be tested on Sunday night.
Gujarat Titans WLWWL (last five matches, most recent first)
Chennai Super Kings WWLWW
No injuries are reported for the team.
Hardik has not bowled in the previous four games going into Qualifier 2 against the Mumbai Indians. There are no reported injury worries in either camp due to his rolling his arm over against Mumbai.
Impact Player approach: Adhering to the model
Is Mahendra Singh Dhoni the best captain in the past 50 years?
It’s anticipated that both teams will remain the same. Depending on whether they are batting first or bowling first, one of Shubman Gill or Josh Little will be the impact player for the Titans. Both Matheesha Pathirana and Shivam Dube are set to play similar roles for CSK.
Gujarat Titans (probable XII): Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Sai Sudharsan, Hardik Pandya (captain), David Miller, Vijay Shankar, Rashid Khan, Rahul Tewatia, Noor Ahmed, Mohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami, and Josh Little are the team’s starting eleven.
Chennai Super Kings (probable XII): Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devon Conway, Shivam Dube, Ajinkya Rahane, Moeen Ali, and Ambati Rayudu are the top six candidates. Seven Ravindra Jadeja, 8 MS Dhoni (wk, capt), Deepak Chahar, Tushar Deshpande, Maheesh Theekshana, and Matheesha Pathirana are the following nine people.
Stats that matter: Shami vs CSK openers
- Mohammed Shami would be well-matched against Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad. In three innings, Conway has been struck out three times, scoring just five runs on 12 balls. Despite never losing to Shami, Gaikwad only scored at a strike rate of 69.69 (46 off 66 deliveries) when batting against him. Shami has also had a successful season in Ahmedabad, taking 17 wickets in eight games for an economy of 6.77.
- The T20 statistics for Rashid Khan against Ambati Rayudu and Ruturaj Gaikwad could be more outstanding. Gaikwad has faced him six times and scored 147.36 (84 off 57), despite twice losing to him. Rayudu has a slightly lower strike rate (124.65), yet Rashid has only been able to get him out once in 73 deliveries.
- Mohit Sharma can fend off Rayudu for the Titans. He was struck out six times by the seamer in 44 balls, totaling just 54 runs. While Mohit has been dismissed twice, Dhoni has scored 48 from 24 balls.
- David Miller has an excellent record against Ravindra Jadeja, scoring 121 runs at a strike rate of 168.05 for two dismissals, although he was bowled for 4 in Qualifier 1. Gill has scored 68 runs off of 48 balls against Jadeja, who has never dismissed him at a strike rate in T20 cricket of 141.66.
- In this IPL, Mahesh Theekshana has been more incisive when playing away. In seven games in Chennai, he has taken just three wickets. He has played five times and taken eight wickets away from home.
- To surpass Virat Kohli’s record for the most runs scored in an IPL season, Gill needs 123 runs.
- The top three wicket-takers in the IPL so far are Shami (28), Rashid (27) and Mohit (24). In reality, Shami needs five more wickets to surpass Dwayne Bravo and Harshal Patel’s record for most wickets in a season.
Are they winning the toss and choosing to bat?
Ahmedabad has been a hotbed of scoring this season, with an average first-innings total of 193 over eight games. The side batting first has won five of those matches.
Teams batting first have had tremendous success overall in this IPL, winning 40 games and dropping 32. The Titans and CSK could want to have runs on the board because it’s the championship game, and Dew is unlikely to play a significant factor.
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