Mumbai, Pretr. Gujarat Titans, who have ensured a place in the play-offs, will look to seal a place in the top two with a win over Chennai Super Kings, who were out in the race for the IPL title, on Sunday.

Under the captaincy of Hardik Pandya, Gujarat performed better than expected and ensured a place in the play-offs with two matches remaining. The Titans are leading the way with 18 points from 12 matches and a win on Sunday would almost ensure a top-two spot which would mean the team an extra chance to make it to the finals. The defending champions Super Kings, who are ranked ninth in the 10-team table, are out of the race for the play-offs and will play in the remaining two matches with an aim to save their reputation.

Titans booked a place in the play-offs with a 62-run win against Lucknow Supergiants in their previous match, while Super Kings suffered a five-wicket loss against Mumbai Indians in their previous match. Young openers Shubman Gill, captain Hardik, David Miller, Wriddhiman Saha and Rahul Tewatia batted well for Titans during the season and would like to continue the momentum against the Super Kings. The credit goes to his ability to bounce back in difficult situations. However, in the last few matches, Titans batsmen have not been able to perform as per expectations and Hardik will be expecting consistency from his batsmen.

In the previous match, only Gill (63 not out) was able to bat at the crease and remained unbeaten throughout the innings as Titans put up a competitive score of 144 for four and then defended it with ease. The team management of Titans will also hope that Hardik, Miller and Tewatia will get the bat again. The strong side of Titans though is their bowling attack which includes world class bowlers like Muhammad Shami, Lockie Ferguson and Rashid Khan. Shami is the team’s most successful bowler with 16 wickets while Ferguson is capable of troubling any batting order with his stormy bowling.

Rashid has also regained momentum after a slow start and took four wickets in the last match. Yash Dayal has also picked up wickets while R Sai Kishore took two wickets in his very first match playing Rashid’s good side. The current season has been like a nightmare for the Super Kings and from the very beginning nothing is going in their favor. The decision to replace Mahendra Singh Dhoni with Ravindra Jadeja as the captain proved to be wrong and the all-rounder never seemed comfortable in the role of captain, due to which the veteran wicketkeeper had to take over the reins of the team again.

If this was not enough, then speculations of a rift between Super Kings and Jadeja also came to the fore. Jadeja returned home before the last match due to a rib injury. Devon Conway did a great job with the bat for the Super Kings despite getting limited chances while Shivam Dubey and Ruturaj Gaikwad would also look to play good innings. In the absence of Deepak Chahar and Adam Milne, even the Super Kings bowlers could not perform as expected. Mukesh Choudhary and Simranjit Singh impressed but apart from the lack of quality new-ball bowlers, Moeen Ali and Mahesh Teekshna also failed to perform as expected in the spin department.

Teams :

Gujarat Titans: Hardik Pandya (Captain), Abhinav Manohar, David Miller, Gurkeerat Singh, B Sai Sudarshan, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Matthew Wade, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Wriddhiman Saha, Alzarri Joseph, Darshan Nalkande, Lucky Ferguson, Muhammad Shami, Noor Ahmed, Pradeep Sangwan, Rashid Khan, Sai Kishore, Varun Aaron and Yash Dayal.

Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (Captain), Moeen Ali, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Dwayne Bravo, Ambati Rayudu, Robin Uthappa, Mitchell Santner, Chris Jordan, Devon Conway, Shivam Dubey, Dwayne Pretorius, Mahesh Tikshan, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Tushar Deshpande, KM Asif , C Hari Nishant, N Jagadeesan, Subhranshu Senapati, K Bhagat Verma, Prashant Solanki, Simarjit Singh and Mukesh Choudhary.

Edited By: Sanjay Savern