Gujarat seeks a definite “Q” against the season’s underachievers

Brian Lara, head coach of the Sunrisers Hyderabad, asserted that “we should be sitting down pretty high on this table.” “We’ve played some tight games and games where we led going into the closing stretch. Additionally, we didn’t seal it off.

Even in this IPL, the Sunrisers have experienced better times. However, as things stand, they are currently ranked next to last following the match between Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore. This ranking won’t likely alter during the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader, which will feature another mediocre team, KKR. 

The Sunrisers are in this situation. But Lara isn’t mistaken. The Sunrisers managed to blow three home games that they largely controlled, losing Mumbai by 14 runs, Delhi by 7 runs, Kolkata by 5 runs, and their most recent game against LSG two nights ago by 7 wickets. They would have risen to the top of the standings with four victories. The Sunrisers have had their share of problems this year, with an inconsistent bowling attack and an underwhelming Harry Brook (apart from his century). The Sunrisers persist, though. They survive to battle again. Even at the latter end of the competition, they are still in the running for the playoffs despite having only four victories, the most recent of which was a sensational 215-yard chase by Abdul Samad to save them. The players and, to some extent, the momentum is on the Sunrisers’ side. They lack consistency, though. The business end is the best time to peak, after all. But right now, merit alone won’t cut it.

Gujarat Titans are in a relaxed state. Their losses have been by 5 runs against Delhi, three wickets (last over run-chase) against Rajasthan, and perhaps the only game in which they didn’t come close, by 27 runs against the Mumbai Indians. This follows a shocker against KKR early in the tournament, in which they dominated for 39 overs before a freak innings (by no means accidental). The game against Mumbai, where the top order was destroyed before an explosive 79* by Rashid Khan kept them in the game till the 18th over was the clearest example of a settled team and players who step up when no one else does. This absence from the top order can be characterized as an outlier given their performance throughout the competition.

The Gujarat Titans appear to be a team that can punch above its weight and has done so repeatedly during the competition. They have no evident weaknesses in their game, few injury casualties, and more than one ace under their sleeves. They are the reigning champions of 2023, superior to the competition, and practically have a Q after their name.

When: Monday, May 15, 2023, 7:30 PM IST, GT vs. SRH

Where: Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium

Expectations: Scores at the Narendra Modi stadium have ranged from 125 to 227 this year (both made by the home team), therefore the softness of the wicket and the type of surface will determine what is a competitive total at this location. However, bigger sums have generally been the norm, with many scores of 200 or above and the majority of scores over 170. Even at 7 PM, Ahmedabad’s forecasted high temperature of 43 degrees Celsius would make it uncomfortably stuffy.

In the 2022 IPL, the Gujarat Titans and Sunrisers Hyderabad have a 1-1 head-to-head record. In SRH’s victory over the Titans, Kane Williamson shone with the bat. The two teams will only play each other once during the current IPL season.

Teams to keep an eye on:

Gujarat Titans:

Injury/Availability: Given the lack of injury concerns, the Gujarat Titans are expected to stick with the same starting lineup. Other than the impact substitute, which is probably certainly Alzarri Joseph replacing one of the batting eleven when they have a bowl, tactical alterations are doubtful.

Tactics and match-ups: Mohammed Shami has previously caused problems for Rahul Tripathi in this competition. SRH’s aggressive top-order hitter has been dismissed three times in 29 balls by the veteran fast bowler, scoring only 34 runs.

Widdhiman Saha (captain), Shubman Gill, Vijay Shankar, Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Abhinav Manohar, Mohit Sharma, Rashid Khan, Mohammed Shami, and Noor Ahmad make up the probable XI.

Depending on the results of the toss, Alzarri Joseph might be selected for the starting lineup or added as a replacement.

Sunrisers Hyderabad:

Injury/Availability: No known issues

Strategies and matchups: Bhuvneshwar Kumar must perform at his highest level against Shubman Gill of GT for SRH to take the lead early. The otherwise outstanding opener has had trouble, scoring just 35 runs in the veteran’s 41 balls faced. In order to cut Wriddhiman Saha’s wings before he starts the PowerPlay, SRH could potentially unfurl a leg spin through Mayank Markande early. The keeper-batter has a strike rate of just 100 against leg spin due to his struggles with it.

Abhishek Sharma, Anmolpreet Singh, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram (captain), Heinrich Klaasen (witness), Glenn Phillips, Abdul Samad, T Natarajan, Mayank Markande, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Fazalhaq Farooqi comprise the probable XI.

Did you realize?

Shubman Gill has scored 526 runs, 3 fifties, a hundred, and a best of 126* in 10 innings for Ahmedabad, averaging 75.14 with a fantastic strike rate of 152.46.

– In all T20 matches against Bhuvneshwar, Miller averages 85 runs at a strike rate of 184.78 with just one dismissal.


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