Two months and 73 matches later, the Indian Premier League 2022 has reached its crowning moment. Rajasthan Royals and Gujarat Titans are set to lock horns in the final in front of a packed crowd at Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad on May 29.
The two teams finished top two on the points table and had earned themselves two bites at the cherry. New entrants GT, who topped the table with 10 wins and 20 points, advanced through to the final directly by defeating the 2008 champions Royals in Qualifier 1. The Titans came out victorious by seven wickets at Eden Gardens on May 24 and booked their tickets to the final in their debut season.
Rashid Khan was exceptional with the ball, conceding only 15 runs in four overs, but the rest of the Gujarat attack was taken apart as they conceded 188/6. In response, the Titans were clinical in their run-chase, not falling behind at any stage. David Miller scored an outstanding 68* off 38, including three sixes of the first three balls when 16 were needed in the last over. Shubman Gill and Hardik Pandya also made important contributions with 35 and 40, respectively.
RR, who had secured second spot on the table with nine wins and better net run-rate, had to take a longer route to the final. After losing to the Titans in Qualifier 1, they had to go through Royal Challengers Bangalore in Qualifier 2. And they did just that, hammering the opposition by seven wickets at the Motera Stadium on Friday and reaching the final for the first time in 14 years.
Prasidh Krishna was magnificent with the ball, picking three for 22, while Obed McCoy also picked three for 24 as Rajasthan pulled things back and restricted RCB to 157/8. What followed was a Jos Buttler carnage as he blasted an unbeaten 106 off 60 balls and took the team over the line with 11 balls to spare. This was Buttler’s fourth century in the season, equaling the record by Virat Kohli.
The two sides have faced each other twice in the season already, with the former coming out victorious on both occasions. Expect a hard-fought battle between the two teams for the trophy.
Jos Buttler is having one of the greatest seasons in the IPL ever. The Rajasthan opener has smashed 824 runs in the season – the third most on the all-time list.
He’s averaging 59 while striking at 151, including four hundreds and as many fifties. The Englishman returned to his belligerent best in the last game, blasting bowlers from the outset, and the Royals will hope for the same in the final.
Shubman Gill is having his best season till date in the IPL in 2022. The Titans opener has scored 438 runs at an average of 31 while striking at 136.
He has scored four fifties in the tournament and is coming off a 21-ball 35 in the Qualifier 1. Gill will be an important player for Gujarat Titans against the RR bowling attack.
Afghan superstar Rashid Khan has made an impact for GT this season with both bat and ball. He has scalped 18 wickets in 15 matches at an excellent economy of 6.73, including best of 4/24. With the bat, Rashid has made match-winning contributions, scoring 91 runs in the season at 23 average and 207 strike rate.
Yuzvendra Chahal is the joint leading wicket-taker in the IPL 2022 with 26 wickets at an economy of 7.92. The leg-spinner has claimed one five-wicket haul and one four-for in the tournament. He hasn’t had a great time in the last five games and will hope to turn things around.
The Hardik-led side have a pretty settled playing XI. Their batting unit has had multiple heroes in Pandya himself as well as Gill, Miller, Khan, Wriddhiman Saha, and Rahul Tewatia. The Titans have a potent bowling attack as well, with the likes of Mohammed Shami, Yash Dayal and R Sai Kishore. Alzarri Joseph was expensive in the last game and could be replaced by Lockie Ferguson.
Sanju Samson’s men also have a settled XI since Yashasvi Jaiswal and Devdutt Padikkal started firing in their respective roles while Obed McCoy held his own with the ball. The other stars in the side – such as Samson, Buttler, Chahal, Shimron Hetmyer, and Ravichandran Ashwin – have done well too.
The toss is likely to play a role in this clash, but the Royals have the advantage of having played at the venue on Friday. They also look slightly better on paper, so expect them to win the final and clinch their second Premier League title.