The second part of the double header in the Indian Premier League on Sunday comes from the MCA Stadium in Pune as the Gujarat Titans look to continue their fine start as a franchise when they take on the defending champions Chennai Super Kings.
The Titans have won four of their opening five matches and a win here will see them as the first team onto 10 points in the tournament. Chennai got their first win of the campaign last time out and need to start building on that the latch on to the teams challenging for the top four spots.
I have to admit I got the Gujarat Titans completely wrong heading into the season. I didn’t think they had enough batting about them to be competitive but even though a couple of their top three have done next to nothing in the tournament they have had more than enough with the bat. Their success has largely come through their bowlers though and in the main they have been fantastic, although with Rashid Khan in the side that is no surprise.
I always say it but I love teams who can win matches when chasing a score down or when posting a total and the Titans have ticked both boxes. Some of their wins this season have come from incredible positions so they must be feeling on top of the world right now. They have relied on individual efforts with the bat so if and when they fire as one in that department they are going to be some team to stop.
Chennai Super Kings
The defending champions finally got off the mark in their title defence at the fifth time of asking last time out. While nobody in yellow was panicking, secretly they will have known that getting off the mark when they did was necessary and a little bit of pressure will have been lifted as a result. You wouldn’t say it was the best performance ever but nobody in the Chennai camp will care. That match was about winning it rather than look good doing it.
They were indebted to a brutal 165 run partnership in just 73 balls between Robin Uthappa and Shivam Dube in that match. Those partnerships don’t come around too often though so I would much rather see a more complete batting display before I can believe the champions are ready to launch a run of form. They still aren’t doing a huge amount to convince me with the ball either it has to be said but it might be that the confidence of winning a game will push them on.
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Hardik Pandya was absolutely brilliant in the Gujarat Titans’ win over Rajasthan Royals last time out. Not only is he performing with bat, ball and in the field but we got an insight into how he has taken on the captaincy role by Vikram Solanki during the previous match.
Shivam Dube looks in cracking form with the bat and he might need to be for the Chennai Super Kings here because the Gujarat Titans are going very well with the ball. Dube might need to blunt Rashid Khan but the Afghan leggie is much better against right handers so that is a matchup the batter can exploit.
The dew was causing havoc for the teams batting first earlier in the competition but seven of the last nine matches have been won by the team setting a score now so either sides are getting to grips with the conditions or the dew isn’t as much of a factor as it was a couple of weeks ago. Either way, I’m much more confident betting on the match outcome before we know the result of the toss and that is what I’m going to do in this contest.
Chennai Super Kings won last time out but they’ll need more than one great partnership to show me they are back in the form of last year. Gujarat Titans are looking a very good team and when you consider that two of their top three are yet to show up in the competition there is plenty more to come from the new franchise. I relentless say that bowlers win T20 matches and this Gujarat attack is as good as anything in the competition. Chennai have missed Deepak Chahar throughout the campaign and just can’t seem to get anything going with the ball. I expect a Gujarat win here.
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