Defending champions Gujarat Titans will face four-time champions Chennai Super Kings in the Qualifier 1 match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday evening where all focus will be on the key players from both the sides.
The two teams had earlier met in the IPL 2023 opener at the Narendra Modi Stadium where the Hardik Pandya-led home side had emerged victorious by five wickets. While Gujarat will be banking on their strong bowling unit led by Mohammed Shami and Rashid Khan, who lead the standings for most wickets with 24 wickets apiece, the Yellow Army will be looking up to their successful opening pair of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway to provide them with a strong start in the crucial game.
Former India opener Virender Sehwag has reckoned that Rashid, the Afghanistan spin sensation, will be the trump card for the defending champions and Gujarat will be relying heavily upon him.
“Rashid Khan is the trump card for Gujarat. If they want wickets, they bring him. And then the way Hardik has used Rashid, it is commendable. Rashid likes to break partnerships and now he has become the most successful bowler of this season on the basis of his excellent performance,” said the former India opener.
Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar while highlighting the similarities between the two teams said that the two are tactically similar teams and that will make the contest between them interesting.
“Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Titans have been very similar teams tactically. Both these teams don’t look to make too much of changes and the leadership group keeps the atmosphere light in the dressing room. The battle between these two in Playoffs will be an interesting one,” Manjrekar told Star Sports’ Cricket Live.
On the other hand, former India cricketer Harbhajan Singh felt that the home condition will give CSK slight advantage however, the home side hasn’t been able to convert Chepauk into an impregnable fortress this year, unlike in the past.
“The contest between CSK and GT will be intense as both teams know how to win big games. CSK playing at home is a big advantage, they know the conditions well but somewhere their performance at home hasn’t been foolproof this year. So this makes things interesting but CSK looks a completely different side when it plays in the Playoffs. I am really looking forward to this match,” Harbhajan said.
“Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway come to the ground with full preparation. They have been complimenting each other very well this season. They have given good starts to CSK and scored runs in abundance and entertained the spectators. The team whose openers play well, tend to score well and that is why CSK are in a good position today,” Harbhajan told Star Sports’ Cricket Live.