We have a clash between top of the Indian Premier League table and bottom of it in the one match which takes place in the competition on Friday when the Gujarat Titans take on the Mumbai Indians at Brabourne Stadium.
The Titans probably need one more win just to be certain of their place in the finals and that would also keep them in the box seat for a top two finish. We know the Mumbai Indians are out of play-off contention but that might only serve to make them more dangerous.
The Gujarat Titans have had a brilliant season with eight wins from their opening 10 matches as an Indian Premier League franchise but they were beaten in their last match by the Punjab Kings and actually were beaten pretty tamely. That throws up the obvious question of whether they just met a lower ranked side on a good day or whether it was a poor Titans performance which was borne about by a feeling that they have already made the top four. We often see teams get enough points to qualify for the finals and then come off the top of their form but that isn’t the path they want to go down.
You always wondered even when the Titans were winning matches whether their lack of runs at the top of the order would come back and cost them and that is what happened in the last game. Much will be pointed towards their bowlers in that match but really they lost the contest with the bat and gave their bowlers nothing to defend. Liam Livingstone just came in and made sure the death was a more instant one rather than a long and drawn out one.
It took them nine attempts but the Mumbai Indians do finally have their first win on the board this season. It has come far too late for them to make anything of their campaign but in professional sport there is always something to play for and always something to plan for so these Mumbai players won’t just want the season to fizzle out. We know from experience that they are capable of putting a bunch of wins together and with nothing to lose from here on in it will be interesting to see if they have that in them here.
That win over the Rajasthan Royals was the first time they really controlled the entire innings when they had the ball in their hand. We are used to seeing the Mumbai attack restrict teams in the key parts of an innings but that hasn’t really happened much this term. I would imagine that if they can build on that with the ball we will see their batters relax and put up bigger scores and the overall wheel will move in a more forward direction.
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Gujarat Titans need their captain Hardik Pandya deliver the goods here. He occupies a key position in the batting order but actually their bowlers have just started to feel the pinch since he picked up an injury and hasn’t bowled.
Suryakumar Yadav has finally made his way up into the top three and as arguably the best batter in the Mumbai Indians line up that is definitely a positive. With three 50s in seven innings he is a Mumbai player who is having a good tournament and they will hope that continues here.
On a high scoring ground it isn’t good that so few Gujarat Titans batters are in the sort of form that you would want them to be in. Really when they have won matches this season David Miller and Rahul Tewatia have been the heroes more often than not and it isn’t ideal when you numbers five and six are scoring all the runs, especially against this Mumbai Indians attack who have the personnel to bowl well at the death even though they hadn’t really done it until their last match.
Given the shortage of form of the Titans’ top order I would expect Mumbai to get stuck into the Titans batting here with the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and even Daniel Sams who came to the party last time out. Gujarat have a decent bowling attack but since Pandya stopped bowling they have conceded a lot more runs than they were. I don’t think that is a good thing against a Mumbai side who are probably only second to Punjab Kings for batting firepower. On a pitch where the batters can relax and trust the wicket the freedom Mumbai can play with and the more form batters they have makes me lean in their direction.
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