Can Gujarat Titans halt Mumbai Indians’ remarkable revival? – DTVHINDI


Think tank: Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya, right, and head coach Ashish Nehra will have their task cut out against Mumbai Indians.
| Photo Credit: VIJAY SONEJI

There is a reason why Mumbai Indians (MI) is the most successful Indian Premier League franchise — it thrives even when barely allowed to live.

This season, the record five-time champion has missed the services of Jasprit Bumrah, seen an undercooked Jofra Archer go in and out of the XI and lost sleep over the meagre batting returns of Suryakumar Yadav and Rohit Sharma. Of the first seven matches, it had lost four.

Yet, at the Narendra Modi Stadium here on Friday, MI will play for a spot in another IPL final — its seventh in 16 editions — when it meets Gujarat Titans (GT) in Qualifier 2.

Return to form

The side has piggybacked on the return to form of Suryakumar, the exploits of the unheralded, like pacer Akash Madhwal and batter Nehal Wadhera, and the intelligence of the shrewd old warhorse in leggie Piyush Chawla.

Each had a role to play in the spectacular 81-run thrashing of Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator on Wednesday, with Madhwal the standout performer, finishing with breathtaking figures of 3.3-0-5-5.

If basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s words “Your mind is what makes everything else work” are anything to go by, MI may even be a slight favourite against defending champion GT, for the latter appears to have sunk a bit after losing Qualifier 1 to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) by 15 runs.

Dependence on Gill

Against CSK, GT’s fortunes, despite possessing a well-rounded outfit, seemed to singularly depend on the magical willow of Shubman Gill. The deep batting line-up needs to come alive in order to complement what is a lethal bowling attack led by Mohammed Shami and Rashid Khan.

Pillar of strength: Gujarat Titans will want Shubman Gill to continue his good form.

Pillar of strength: Gujarat Titans will want Shubman Gill to continue his good form.
| Photo Credit:

Another aspect worth keeping an eye on is GT’s approach to batting. Despite the presence of a few explosive hitters, Hardik Pandya & Co., believe in playing the percentages better. Will this work against MI’s intuitive and dashing style of cricket? Friday will tell.

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