Our Director of Cricket addressed the media ahead of Sunday’s blockbuster final against Chennai Super Kings.
Gujarat Titans are all set for a summit clash in TATA IPL 2023 against Chennai Super Kings. Both these teams contested in the opening match of this season and will now play on Sunday in what promises to be a high-octane finale.
Vikram Solanki, our Director of Cricket, however, feels that this match should be approached the same way as we have approached the other 16 matches so far this season.
“The final is no different to any other games we play. It was the same approach we used last year and we continue that this season as well,” Solanki said in the pre-match press conference.
“We have to turn around quickly, there’s a short practice session now and we also have to let the guys take in this moment. We have to ensure they get some rest and recover, we’re mindful of that for the whole group to make sure we’re well prepared.”
Talking about our opponents for Sunday, Solanki added, “We entirely respect CSK, they have been a fabulous team for many years in TATA IPL. We respect their group of players, as we have done throughout the season with all our oppositions.”
“We are confident in our preparations, what transpires on the day is unpredictable, but we have to be present when the opportunities present themselves. It is a fantastic opportunity for the players to go there and play in the final again.”
Solanki also added that the previous two meetings between the sides this season will have no bearing on Sunday.
“The conditions in Chennai were entirely different to what we will find here. Once you acknowledge what happened in that match, you have to move on. The first match we played here (against CSK in Ahmedabad) was very different as well. But that’s done and dusted. Tomorrow’s game will depend on who will give the best account of themselves. You have very competitive and strong teams,” Solanki opined.
A number of our batters have stepped up this season in different positions. While Vijay Shankar and skipper Hardik Pandya got some crucial runs coming in at No. 3 and No. 4, players like Sai Sudharsan, David Miller and Rashid Khan have been chipping in with vital contributions as well.
Talking about this shuffling, Solanki said, “Sometimes, the make-up of our side is better when we change the combinations in the batting line-up. Each time, there’s a decision that needs to be made as to who will bat next. That changes every match, it might be because of the opposition or the match situation.”
Gujarat Titans’ bowlers take the top three spots in the Purple Cap race this year and it is the first time in this tournament three bowlers from the same team have occupied the top spots. Mohammad Shami (28 wickets) and Rashid Khan (27 wickets) have been leading the way currently and after a spectacular five-fer against MI in Qualifier 2, Mohit Sharma jumped to the third spot with 24 wickets.
The likes of Noor Ahmad, Joshua Little and Hardik Pandya have provided some crucial wickets as well. Solanki reserved some special praise for our bowling attack, who have been in top form this season.
“If you look at the tournament, the Impact Player rule has had a bearing on the number of batters that are playing, therefore, wicket-taking becomes all the more important. We always look to attack and pick wickets through different conditions and different phases of the game. The bowlers have worked really hard and they deserve all the praise coming their way,” Solanki explained.
Shubman Gill’s masterful form continued on Friday as he registered his career-best score in T20 cricket. His 129 came off only 60 deliveries and took us to our highest-ever total in TATA IPL. This was Gill’s third century in four matches.
“For a young man, he is quite a brilliant technician. He is one of the examples you would like to give young players how to bat. He has all of the qualities of a world-class player and he is showing the skill level this season. Fortunately for us, he is in good form, but what you might not see is how hard he works in training. For somebody so young to show so many qualities is commendable,” Solanki said about the 23-year-old.
Gujarat Titans defeated Rajasthan Royals in the TATA IPL 2022 final at the Narendra Modi Stadium and we prepare for yet another final in front of our home fans. There have been some pretty high-scoring fixtures this season at this venue and Solanki is hopeful of another good track being prepared for Sunday.
“We have played on this ground multiple times, we are confident it’ll be a good pitch. It has been for most of the games this season and the runs scored this season makes it evident. It has also given our bowlers the opportunity to pick wickets whenever we bowled well. I’m sure it’ll make for a brilliant final,” he said.
Gujarat Titans could become only the third team in TATA IPL to successfully defend their title if they win Sunday’s final.