Qualifier 1- Gujarat Titans vs Rajasthan Royals: Preview and Prediction￼
Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals will battle for an easier route into the final of the 2022 edition of the Indian Premier League when they will go head-to-head in the Qualifier 1 on Tuesday, May 24, at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens.
Gujarat Titans have been the most impressive team so far this season, in what happens to be their maiden campaign in this competition. They finished first in the league stage, winning 10 of their 14 encounters.
On the other hand, Rajasthan Royals finished one place behind them, winning nine of their 14 encounters. They were tied on points with the Lucknow Super Giants, but having a better net run rate helped Sanju Samson’s team secure a place in the Qualifier instead of playing in the Eliminator.
What have they done so far?
Not many people had expected Gujarat Titans to qualify for the playoffs, let alone finish first in the league stage, but they have been the team to beat so far. Hardik Pandya’s team had a fantastic start, winning all of their first three matches, and this essentially helped them set the tone for the rest of the campaign.
After losing their fourth fixture, the Titans did well to bounce back in style and register five victories on the trot. However, if there is one aspect the boys in blue will be worried about, it is their current form. Pandya’s team has lost three of their last five matches and they need to be at their absolute best if they want to get the better of Rajasthan Royals.
Speaking of the Royals, they too had a good start to their campaign – winning their first couple of fixtures. Two wins in the next three matches derailed Samson’s team from their paths, but they bounced back with three consecutive triumphs.
The Royals then experienced another slump and they lost two of their next three games here as well. At that stage, their place in the playoffs looked to be slipping away, but credit but be given for how they have won their last two fixtures.
Head to Head Record
Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals have locked horns only one previously, where the former had secured a 37-run win. Gujarat batted first and scored 192 runs, courtesy of skipper Pandya’s 87, whilst Rajasthan could score only 155 runs in response, with Yash Dayal and Lockie Ferguson picking up three wickets apiece.
Hardik Pandya: There was widespread scepticism regarding Gujarat’s decision to make Hardik Pandya their skipper, but not only has he done well as the leader of the team, but Hardik has also been their best player. He is the Titans’ leading run-scorer with 413 runs, which includes four half-centuries – 50* against Sunrisers Hyderabad, 87* against Rajasthan Royals, 67 against Kolkata Knight Riders and most recently, 62* against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The 28-year-old has maintained an average of 41.30 and a strike rate of 131.52. If his batting numbers are not impressive enough, he has also scalped four wickets to boast his overall statistics.
Yuzvendra Chahal: While Rajasthan Royals have had plenty of star performers with the bat in the likes of Jos Buttler, skipper Sanju Samson and also Shimron Hetmyer, their forte has been bowling and Yuzvendra Chahal happens to be the trump card of their bowling contingent.
The 31-year-old leg-spinner is leading the run for purple cap, having picked up 26 wickets in 14 matches at an average of 16.53 and an average of 7.14 runs per over. The lad from Haryana has picked up at least one wicket in all of his last four matches, while earlier in the season, he picked up a five-wicket haul against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Predicted Playing XI
Gujarat Titans: Wriddhiman Saha, Shubman Gill, Matthew Wade (wk), Hardik Pandya (c), David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Lockie Ferguson, Yash Dayal, Mohammed Shami.
Rajasthan Royals: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson (c & wk), Devdutt Padikkal, Shimron Hetmyer, Riyan Parag, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Prasidh Krishna, Yuzvendra Chahal, Obed McCoy.
Though Gujarat Titans finished higher in the points table and also did well in their only meeting against Rajasthan Royals, there is one aspect where the latter has the upper hand – current form. While Pandya’s team are coming into the playoffs on the back of a defeat, the men in pink have won their last two matches. Hence, we have predicted Samson’s team to emerge victoriously in this match and subsequently confirm their place in the IPL 2022 final.