So far in IPL 2022, the Gujarat Titans have lost only one game. Fortuitously enough, the first time they’ll be facing a team again in the league stage, they have the opportunity to correct that blemish.
They will face Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Wankhede stadium, and while they are sitting pretty at the top of the points table and in such a healthy position that even a loss or two won’t hurt them, but there is the matter of pride in not letting a team beat you twice. There is also the matter of winning being a habit, one that the Titans will be extra keen to continue.
It's been a season of heroes so far, with six wins producing six different Man of the Match awardees. It hasn’t mattered whether their talismanic captain has had to miss a game, or forego his bowling, they’ve won without Hardik Pandya. It doesn’t matter if their dynamic young opener Shubman Gill has fallen early, they’ve found other batting champions. The bowling towers as arguably the most potent in the league.
The other team who can make that argument, are the Titans’ opponents, Sunrisers Hyderabad. The points table reflects that too, and this will be a top-of-table clash. But while their pace stocks are enviable, they don’t have a Rashid Khan equivalent. To be fair, no one really does. Rashid, of course, is familiar with several of the Sunrisers players and their backroom staff, and although he had a decent outing against his former franchise the first time around, he’ll be keen to impose his game-breaking version on them this time.
What’s their form been?
Both teams are coming in on the back of winning momentum. The Titans’ six wins in seven games was split right down the middle by the Sunrisers. But that apart, they’ve been brilliant. Their wins haven’t come via crushing the opposition in the main, but rather in winning the key moments, and winning them decisively. In a ten-team IPL where each side has several match-winning players, this ability of the Titans to raise their game and find the man for the occasion each time, is priceless.
The Sunrisers are on a five-game winning streak, having ridden on the back of a varied and deep pace attack backed by solid batting. The one thing they have had going for them is the luck of the coin, with Kane Williamson winning seven tosses in a row.
Titans Trump Card
Most times when Sunrisers have come up against an opposition this IPL, they’ve had a trump card in Umran Malik whose pace and fire is unique. This time, in Lockie Ferguson, the Titans have their own fast and furious bowler, who has been in fine fettle too. Ferguson has bowled 22 balls combined to Kane Williamson, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram and Nicholas Pooran, conceding only 29 runs and picking up a wicket. While those aren’t bad figures, Ferguson’s form in this IPL has been good, and both he and the opposing batters will know that he can be much more devastating.