The winners of the 2022 season of the Indian Premier League will be crowned on Sunday when the top two in the competition meet in the final in Ahmedabad where the Gujarat Titans take on the Rajasthan Royals.
This is the first season in the tournament for the Titans and they will be looking to emulate the Royals who won the title in their maiden campaign. That was the only time Rajasthan have made the final and they’ll be looking to keep that 100% record in finals intact.
This has been a debut season like no other for the Gujarat Titans who have not only coasted to top spot in the regular league phase but then took the first of the two chances they had to make this final. That means they have had the maximum rest time available ahead of this final so fitness is certainly not going to bring them down. The one negative that comes from that is this will be the first time they have played in this stadium, their home ground, this season.
The obvious flip side of that is that they will have a lot of support for this final. The other positive is that their Qualifier 1 win was against the opposition they face in this final so they know they have the beating of them. The interesting thing is we have rarely seen the best of this Titans side, or seen it produce its best as a collective unit. This would be a wonderful time for them to bring that out of their locker as they will be very tough to beat if they do.
Throughout the campaign there has been an air of ‘doing it for Shane Warne’ about this Rajasthan Royals side and they are one win away from achieving that aim. They have had to do it the hard way in terms of getting to this final but they deserve immense credit for rebounding from losing their first chance to make it into this contest and take advantage of their second opportunity. That means they aren’t quite as fresh as the Titans heading into this match but they have experienced these conditions.
The big thing from the second qualifier was that Jos Buttler came back to form and did so in a big way. He is the man who leads the better of the Rajasthan batting efforts and if he goes well in this final then they are going to be hard to beat. The spinners didn’t perform against the Titans on Tuesday and if Rajasthan are going to win the title you would think at least one of them is going to need to turn up, if not both of them.
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I always think that you need to get off to good starts with the bat in these finals else the pressure can mount and the rot can set in so Shubman Gill is a big presence here. If he can get them up and running the rest can flow. If he is out early things could get awkward.
The same goes for the Rajasthan Royals and their talisman at the top of the order Jos Buttler. If he gets them off to a flier again then they are likely to flow throughout the innings but if he is out early the pressure will mount on the rest of them.
Those who followed our season preview selection will already be on the Rajasthan Royals to win this match at 9/1 as they were our outright pick and I’m not going to deviate from that in a match which I see as 50:50 if not slightly in favour of the Rajasthan Royals as they have played a knockout match and won it and done so on this very ground. If there is something which could be significant heading into this one then it could very well be that.
I’m going to take the same bet I took in the other game here though which is under 41.5 boundaries. To be fair the Rajasthan Royals came out all guns blazing in that match but if Jos Buttler was to go early then that would certainly slow up those plans. Even if he doesn’t then Gujarat have a banker bowler in Rashid Khan which the Royal Challengers Bangalore just didn’t have. I’m still not convinced by this Titans batting unit, especially in the pressurised environment of a match like this so I would expect the bowlers on both sides to get control at some point and keep the boundary count below 41.5 boundaries.
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