Chennai: As four-time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) meet defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT) in Qualifier-1 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 in Chennai on Tuesday, the savvy tactician MS Dhoni will reach deep into his reserves to challenge Hardik Pandya’s GT.
The league stage is done and dusted, the business end is here. Gujarat Titans take on the Chennai Super Kings at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Qualifier 1 on Tuesday with a place in the final at stake.
For the second season running, Gujarat finished with 10 wins in the league stage and topped the table. They have won four out of our last five matches and have played some great cricket.
Since the beginning of our IPL journey last year, Gujarat’s bowling attack has scalped 186 wickets in 30 matches, the most by any team in this time period. This season too, they have been a pillar of Gujarat’s success. Leading the wicket-takers list in IPL this time are Rashid Khan and Mohammad Shami, picking up 24 wickets each. Mohit Sharma and Noor Ahmad have taken important wickets too, with 17 and 13 wickets respectively.
Defending champion’s batting department too, led by the talismanic Shubman Gill, has been fantastic. Their record run-chase in Bengaluru was a testament to our terrific record batting second, which now accounts for 14 wins in 17 matches.
Chennai Super Kings, the four-time champions, turn up at their home ground, where they get fervent support. MS Dhoni and his troops picked up eight wins in the league stages, five of which came at Chepauk.
MS Dhoni’s leadership qualities have been fully reflected by his opposite number, Hardik Pandya, over time. Supporting misfiring seniors, handholding junior players, motivating uncapped guys, and increasing bench morale are all traits of a popular leader for whom the squad will go the additional mile.
Qualifier 1 on Tuesday will pit these two comparable, yet very different teams against each other in what promises to be a thrilling match. CSK will have more than a modest advantage because they will have a home advantage. Chennai fans will have one more opportunity to celebrate their larger-than-life hero, their talismanic leader, as a spot in the final is just a step away.
Chennai Super Kings Squad: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devon Conway, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Shivam Dube, Moeen Ali, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni(w/c), Deepak Chahar, Tushar Deshpande, Maheesh Theekshana, Matheesha Pathirana, Mitchell Santner, Subhranshu Senapati, Shaik Rasheed, Akash Singh, Sisanda Magala, Dwaine Pretorius, Ben Stokes, Ajay Jadav Mandal, Prashant Solanki, Simarjeet Singh, RS Hangargekar, Bhagath Varma, Nishant Sindhu
Gujarat Titans Squad: Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha(w), Hardik Pandya(c), Dasun Shanaka, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Mohit Sharma, Noor Ahmad, Mohammed Shami, Yash Dayal, Vijay Shankar, Srikar Bharat, Shivam Mavi, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Abhinav Manohar, Odean Smith, Alzarri Joseph, Matthew Wade, Darshan Nalkande, Urvil Patel, Sai Sudharsan, Jayant Yadav, Pradeep Sangwan