Having secured their top two finish on the points table, Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals will lock horns in the Qualifier 1 for a direct entry into the final of the IPL 2022. The two teams will face off at Eden Gardens on May 24.
The Indian Premier League 2022 has reached its final stage, with four teams securing their top four berth for a shot at the championship. The two teams will get two shots while the third and fourth placed teams will have to go through two teams to reach the final. Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals, the top two teams, will go head to head in the Qualifier 1 at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday, May 24.
The newly introduced Gujarat Titans have had a fantastic season in the IPL 2022, topping the points table with 20 points, having won 10 out of 14 matches. Hardik Pandya’s men won eight out of their first nine matches but have lost three of the last five. In their most recent fixture, the Titans suffered an eight-wicket loss against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Hardik Pandya scored 62 off 47 while Wriddhiman Saha and David Miller added important 30s to take the total to 168/5. Defending the target, Gujarat bowlers were lackluster with the exception of R Sai Kishore, who conceded only 20 runs in his four overs. The Titans will hope to put their best foot forward in Qualifier 1.
Rajasthan Royals have secured the top two finish on the points table for the first time since their inaugural title-winning campaign in 2008. They bagged 18 points with nine victories from 14 matches. Rajasthan Royals pipped Lucknow Super Giants for the second place thanks to their superior net run-rate of 0.298.
The Royals needed to win their last group fixture to get into top two and they did just that, defeating Chennai Super Kings by five wickets. Their bowlers did well to restrict CSK to 150/6 despite Moeen Ali’s 93-run hammering. Yashasvi Jaiswal scored 59 off 44 but the Royals were still lagging behind. Ravichandran Ashwin stepped up with a 23-ball 40 to take the team over the line.
Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals have faced each other once earlier in the tournament, where the Titans had come out victorious by 37 runs. Expect a closely fought contest in this much important clash.
Jos Buttler had an insane first half of the IPL 2022, where he hammered 491 runs in just seven innings. But since then he has only managed 138 runs in the next seven outings. However, the Englishman, who has an average of 48 and strike rate of 147 in the season, remains a key player in this clash. He has blasted three hundreds and three fifties in the tournament. The Royals would hope their star opener produces another big knock.
Hardik Pandya, one of the best finishers in the game before last year, has returned to form but has focused more on run accumulation in the ongoing season. He has scored 413 runs in the IPL 2022 at an average of 41 while striking at 132. Hardik has scored four half centuries in the season, with the most recent one coming in the last game. He provides stability in the Gujarat Titans middle order.
Rashid Khan is the best spinner in the T20 arena and his numbers speak for themselves. The Afghan leg-spinner has been superb for Gujarat Titans in the IPL 2022, picking 18 wickets at an economy of just 6.94 with best figures of 4 for 24. Rashid has made important contributions with the bat as well, blasting 91 runs at an average of 23 and impressive strike rate of 207.
Ravichandran Ashwin is a genius who’s competitive through and through and will do anything for the team. He’s had an excellent season for Rajasthan Royals with both bat and ball. The mystery spinner has scalped 11 wickets in the IPL 2022 at an economy of 7.14. Ashwin has also scored 183 runs at an average of 31 and strike rate of 146. He has scored a fifty and is coming off a 23-ball 40.
Gujarat Titans weren’t the hot favourites ahead of the tournament but they have exceeded expectations, with multiple players stepping up in different situations. Wriddhiman Saha has been terrific at the top of the order while the likes of Shubman Gill, Hardik Pandya, David Miller and Rahul Tewatia have done very well. They just need the batting unit to fire collectively. Their bowling unit has been one of the best in the competition, comprising Rashid Khan, Mohammed Shami, Yash Dayal, Alzarri Joseph and the new addition R Sai Kishore.
Rajasthan Royals’ batting has struggled since Jos Buttler’s form dipped in the second half. Yashasvi Jaiswal and Devdutt Padikkal have done well in recent matches while Sanju Samson and Shimron Hetmyer need to step up. Their bowling attack of Trent Boult, Prasidh Krishna, Obed McCoy along with exceptional spin twins R Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal looks very potent.
Nothing much to separate the two sides but Gujarat Titans should have a slight edge heading into the Qualifier 1 on Tuesday.