Navi Mumbai: A battle royale is on the agenda as Hardik Pandya’s Gujarat Titans take on the Sanju Samson-led Rajasthan Royals, two lineups armed with powerful bowling units in a premier IPL showdown here on Thursday.
The Royals put together some of the best, if not the best bowling strikes for this season, and all of their spinners and pacers have done well.
The seasoned Trent Boult continued to rule fire with the new ball and was equally impressive in the slog-overs. In the previous match against Lucknow Super Giants, he cast a fiery opening spell to get rid of skipper KL Rahul and Krishnappa Gowtham in the very first over.
Prasidh Krishna has given a glimpse of why he is being touted as the next fast bowling sensation in Indian cricket. In addition to Boult, the duo has bowled with pace and aggression.
Rookie Kuldeep Sen also proved that he has the guts to play with the greats. He performed tremendously under pressure on his debut, defending 15 runs on the last over against LSG.
The spinning tasks, on the other hand, are expertly performed by senior Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and the cunning Yuzvendra Chahal. The latter is currently the leading wicket taker in the competition, bringing the opposing batters into submission. The leg spinner has 11 scalps and an economy of 6.50.
Ashwin hasn’t had many breakthroughs though, the off spinner has worked with an economy of 6.87 and managed to choke the opposition for runs.
It will be a big task for the Titans’ batters, who have little experience, to navigate the Royals bowling.
The newcomers have relied heavily on young opener Shubman Gill, who has been in sparkling form, and Pandya. But the skipper, who is known for his pyrotechnics, was more restrictive in his approach and he seemed to be going deep into his innings.
Matthew Wade struggles to score points while David Miller also has yet to shoot, giving rookies Abhinav Manohar and B Sai Surdharshan more responsibility.
However, Rahul Tewatia seems to love his role as the finisher who tones sixes at will.
The Titans have a formidable bowling unit of their own.
The pace bowling department includes Lockie Ferguson, one of the fastest bowlers in world cricket, senior India fast Mohammed Shami and Pandya, all attacking bowlers who take wicket, who can put pressure on the opposition.
Rashid Khan is expected to be their most economical bowler. The opposing batters have preferred to play out his four overs rather than going for the big shots.
However, the Titans bowlers lacked sharpness in the loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad, the team’s first loss this season. It will be interesting to see how they regroup against the Royals batting lineup, which includes the flamboyant Jos Buttler, big hit Shimron Hetmyer and Samons alongside the wonderfully talented Devdutt Padikkal.
Both teams have won three games and lost one, with the Royals topping the points list thanks to a superior net run rate, while the Titans placed fourth.
Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (Captain/wicketkeeper), Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shimron Hetmyer, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Prasidh Krishna, Riyan Parag, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Devdutt Padikkal, Navdeep Saini, Karun Nair, Rassie van der Dus James Neesham, Anunay Singh, Daryl Mitchell, Dhruv Jurel, Shubham Garhwal, Kuldip Yadav, Kuldeep Sen, Obed McCoy, Tejas Baroka, KC Cariappa.
Gujarat Titans: Abhinav Manohar, David Miller, Gurkeerat Singh, B Sai Sudarshan, Shubman Gill, Hardik Pandya (Captain), 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.
Match starts at 7:30 PM.
Also read: Condemn policies to isolate industrialists in India: Mamata