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Rediff.com  » Cricket » IPL: Upbeat MI hold the edge vs Titans in Qualifier 2

IPL: Upbeat MI hold the edge vs Titans in Qualifier 2

Source: PTI
May 25, 2023 12:57 IST
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IMAGE: Mumbai Indians celebrate winning their IPL 2023 Eliminator match against Lucknow Super Giants on Wednesday. Photograph: BCCI

Akash Madhwal's breathtaking bowling performance against Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator would have given five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians wings and they would be fancying their chances against defending champions Gujarat Titans in Friday's Qualifier 2 match, at the Narendra Modi Stadium, in Ahmedabad on Friday.

 

Mumbai Indians, riding on magical figures of 5/5 produced by Madhwal at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday, knocked out Lucknow Super Giants with an 81-run win in the Eliminator match.

The massive MI victory was a warning to the rivals that they could lift their game according to the occasion even in the absence of star pacers Jasprit Bumrah, Jofra Archer and batting mainstay Tilak Varma.

MI will hold a slight edge after their emphatic victory against LSG in the Eliminator match, while Gujarat will aim to bounce back after their lacklustre batting performance in their 15-run defeat vs CSK in Qualifier 1.

IMAGE: Akash Madhwal registered sensational figures of 5/5 to power MI to victory against LSG. Photograph: BCCI

MI pride themselves on thriving when the odds are stacked against them, something they have done throughout the season. Having finished last in the previous edition, Rohit Sharma's team has ground it out this season to remain in contention for a sixth IPL title even with limited resources.

The likes of Cameron Green, Suryakumar Yadav and Tim David have responded well to the challenges and now form the backbone of the batting department with the young Nehal Wadhera too making a huge impact, and the opening pair of Rohit and Ishan Kishan doing a fair job.

It will be a stern test for the Titans' bowling attack, led by Mohammad Shami (26 wickets in 15 matches), to get the better of MI's batting, which has improved drastically towards the business end of the tournament.

Madhwal has been a revelation with the ball. The right-arm bowler returned a dream spell of 3.5-0-5-5 against LSG to put his side into the virtual semi-final after taking 4/37 in their crucial last league game against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Veteran spinner Piyush Chawla (21 wickets in 15 matches) and pacer Jason Behrendorff (14 wickets in 11 matches) have also been impressive, while an otherwise expensive Chris Jordan also enjoyed a fine outing of 2-1-7-1 in the Eliminator.

IMAGE: Shubman Gill will lead GT's hopes with the bat -- having scored 722 runs in 15 matches at an average of 55.53, including two centuries and four fifties. Photograph: BCCI

Gujarat Titans, outclassed and outgunned in Qualifier 1 by Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings, will have one last chance to gather themselves up and put their best foot forward in familiar conditions in Ahmedabad as they target a place in their second successive IPL final.

It will be imperative for the defending champions that their batting clicks in unison, since Shubman Gill and Vijay Shankar have done bulk of the heavy lifting with the bat in the last few games.

Gill might have had an off day against CSK but his two centuries in the closing stages of the league round make him the biggest threat for Mumbai Indians.

With 722 runs in 15 matches at an average of 55.53, including two centuries and four fifties, the India batter has 421 runs more than the second-best GT batter -- Shankar with 301 runs in 12 matches -- and is also just eight runs short of going past RCB's Faf du Plessis for the highest run-getter in IPL 2023.

IMAGE: Gujarat Titan's captain Hardik Pandya and head coach Ashish Nehra. Photograph: BCCI

The Titans will also expect more with the bat from their captain Hardik Pandya, who is going through a form slump, notching scores of 8, 8, 4 and 25 in his last five games. Their dependable lower middle-order lynchpin David Miller too has gone without a fifty this season and also failed to get into double figures in his last three outings.

This will be the third meeting between GT and MI this season, with both teams winning one game each.

After Titans crushed MI at this venue by 55 runs in a one-sided game, in their next game, Suryakumar struck his maiden IPL century to power MI to a 27-run win -- a margin which could have been a lot bigger had Rashid Khan not smashed a a brutal 32-ball 72.

Teams:
 
Gujarat Titans: Hardik Pandya (captain), Shubman Gill, David Miller, Abhinav Manohar, Sai Sudharsan, Wriddhiman Saha (w/k), Matthew Wade, Rashid Khan, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Mohammed Shami, Alzarri Joseph, Yash Dayal, Pradeep Sangwan, Darshan Nalkande, Jayant Yadav, R Sai Kishore, Noor Ahmad, Dasun Shanaka, Odean Smith, K S Bharat, Shivam Mavi, Urvil Patel, Joshua Little, Mohit Sharma.

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (captain), Suryakumar Yadav, Cameron Green, Ishan Kishan (w/k), Nehal Wadhera, Chris Jordan, Arshad Khan, Jason Behrendorff, Dewald Brevis, Piyush Chawla, Tim David, Raghav Goyal, Duan Jansen, Chris Jordan, Kumar Kartikeya, Akash Madhwal, Riley Meredith, Shams Mulani, Ramandeep Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Hrithik Shokeen, Tristan Stubbs, Arjun Tendulkar, Tilak Varma, Vishnu Vinod.

Match: Starts at 7.30pm IST.

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