Bombay: The speed gun radar will be working overtime as Lockie Ferguson’s 150 click lightning bolts meet their match in soaring speed sensation Umran Malik’s toe crushers as table top Gujarat Titans collide with close-on-heels Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL here on Wednesday.
The IPL newcomers are currently in the midst of a dream starting year with six wins from seven halfway through matches and are placed at the top of the table.
Interestingly enough, the only loss Titans suffered in their campaign so far was against Sunrisers in a previous encounter and Hardik Pandya wouldn’t mind taking revenge for that defeat.
However, the ‘Orange Army’ bowling attack, particularly their quadruple fast bowling unit, was exceptional, as seen when they destroyed RCB for 68 in its previous encounter.
The disturbing bounce and movement created by Marco Jansen (6 wickets from 5 games) is expertly complemented by Umran’s (10 wickets from 7 games) fiery pace, T Natarajan’s (15 from 7 games) off-court deceptions and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (9 out of 7 games) balance it all with his experience.
So much so that a lightweight spin division manned by left arm spinner Jagadeesha Suchith in the absence of an injured Washington Sundar has so far been no cause for concern for Kane Williamson and his group of men.
In fact, SRH has lost their way this season as they now have five straight wins in five matches chasing goals after the bowlers intimidated the rival batting unit.
For Pandya, however, his bowling unit is not inferior to SRH, as Mohammed Shami’s artistry (10 from 7 games) and Ferguson’s (9 wickets from 7 games) aggression have brought them great success, not to mention Rashid Khan’s (8 wickets from 7). games) ability to be more than decent by its standards even in a quiet year.
One area where Titans need to up their game, though, is Powerplay batting, as Shubman Gill (207 from 7 games) went off the grid after the his 96 and Wriddhiman Saha, replacing Matthew Wade, were downright mediocre.
Saha’s propensity for wasting balls up front (dismal SR of 83 in 2 games) in both matches he’s played so far has forced skipper Pandya (295 out of 6 games) and David Miller (220 out of 7 games) to raise the bar even before they can take some time to get used to it.
The rift in Titans’ arsenal is that he doesn’t have a good goalkeeper batter for the size, as Wade hasn’t really had a great time in the first five games he got and Saha has always been a player who takes the time to settle down before he could play some shots.
There is Rahmanullah Gurbaz of Afghanistan in the lineup, but in order to play him, Titans would have to sacrifice a powerful bowling option like West Indian pacer Alzarri Joseph, which isn’t the most sensible thing to do.
Abhinav Manohar and Rahul Tewatia would also like to be more consistent in the role of the finishers rather than being a flash in the pan for a match or two.
However, Titans bowling attack has the potential to overwhelm the SRH batting unit as it hasn’t been tested much with young Abhishek Sharma (220 in 7 games) and No. 3 batter Rahul Tripathi (212 out of 7 games) the greatest doing part of the scoring in easy chases.
If Titans could break through the top of the Sunrisers, most mid-range hitters, including the dangerous Nicholas Pooran, haven’t gotten a decent punch in the middle yet, and the rustiness under pressure could keep Titans interested.
If they manage to disrupt SRH’s rhythm, they will get closer to the play-offs in their first year in the Championship, no mean feat in a league of this class.
Gujarat Titans: Hardik Pandya (c), 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, Dominic Drakes, Jayant Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Mohammed Shami, Noor Ahmad, Pradeep Sangwan, Rashid Khan, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Varun Aaron, Yash Dayal.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson, Abhishek Sharma, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram, Nicholos Pooran, Abdul Samad, Priyam Garg, Vishnu Vinod, Glenn Phillips, R Samarth, Shashank Singh, Romario Shepherd, Marco Jansen, J Suchith, Shreyas Gopal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar , Sean Abbott, Kartik Tyagi, Saurabh Tiwary, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Umran Malik, T Natarajan.
Start match: 7.30 pm. IST.
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