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Titans take on Knight Riders, eye third straight win

Source: PTI
April 08, 2023 14:38 IST
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Rashid Khan is congratulated by his Gujarat Titans teammates after dismissing Moeen Ali during the IPL match against Chennai Super Kings at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

IMAGE: Rashid Khan is congratulated by his Gujarat Titans teammates after dismissing Moeen Ali during the IPL match against Chennai Super Kings at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Photograph: BCCI

Defending champions Gujarat Titans will be eyeing a hat-trick of victories, while Kolkata Knight Riders, fresh from their decimation of Royal Challengers Bangalore, will be keen to show that win was not a flash in the pan when the two sides clash in the IPL in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

The home advantage apart, Gujarat Titans have the players to achieve the goals, as was visible in the first two games of the season.


If their opening match against Chennai Super Kings gave an insight into young Shubman Gill's form with the bat -- he scored a 36-ball 63 in the thrilling five-wicket victory --, the tie against Delhi Capitals threw up an unlikely hero in Sai Sudarshan, who clobbered a 48-ball 62 to make a mockery of the rival team's total.

With two young and in-form batters in the side, and a bowling department overflowing with the experience of pace bowlers Mohammed Shami, skipper Hardik Pandya and the craftiness of Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan, KKR could find the going tough in the away match.

Gill is in the form of his life, having scored centuries in all three formats this year and the 23-year-old seems obsessed with more success.

With opener Wriddhiman Saha, Gill has forged a potent partnership, which, on any given day, can tackle the best bowling attacks in the IPL and generously monetize the powerplay overs.

Sudarshan, despite playing only seven first-class games, has two centuries to his credit with a highest score of 179 for Tamil Nadu and the IPL gives him the opportunity to also showcase his talent in the shortest format.

With Rahul Tewatia almost always dealing in maximums and Rashid Khan displaying his batting prowess in ample measure last year, the batting line-up looks sorted.

To add to that, David Miller also struck an unbeaten 16-ball 31 against Delhi Capitals to show that the South African is also in good nick.

While the likes of Shami, Rahid and Alzarri Joseph have been effective, with the Indian pacer emerging as the leading wicket-taker with five scalps in the two games, the inability to contain runs in powerplay overs is something the bowling stalwart will have to figure out ahead of the clash against the two-time IPL champions.

KKR, on the other hand, have an interesting puzzle to solve before they take the field against Gujarat Titans.

With Jason Roy being roped in to give the side a boost following injury to regular captain Shreyas Iyer and the pull-out of Bangladesh allrounder Shakib Al Hasan, it remains to be seen how KKR fit the England opener after young Afghanistan wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz's exploits at the top.

Gurbaz scored a quick 22 against Punjab Kings, which KKR lost by seven runs (DLS method). But the 21-year-old was a revelation against RCB, laying the foundation for a 200-plus total against RCB with a fighting fifty before Shardul Thakur's pyrotechnics took the team to a massive 204.

There is a likelihood that Roy will replace Gurbaz.

However the 81-run win against the star-studded RCB, aided by Shardul's all-round show, the dream debut by Delhi teenager Suyash Sharma -- who took 3/30 -- and the brilliance of slow bowlers Varun Chakravarthy (4/15) and Sunil Narine (2/16) will give enough confidence to skipper Nitish Rana to go into the game with a positive frame of mind.


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

Kolkata Knight Riders: Nitish Rana (c), Vaibhav Arora, Lockie Ferguson, Harshit Rana, Venkatesh Iyer, Narayan Jagadeesan, Kulwant Khejroliya, Litton Das, Mandeep Singh, Sunil Narine, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Jason Roy, Anukul Roy, Andre Russell, Rinku Singh, Tim Southee, Suyash Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Varun Chakravarthy, David Wiese, Umesh Yadav.

Match starts: 3:30 PM IST.

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