IPL 2022: Five reasons why Gujarat Titans can win the title
Gujarat Titans are being led by Indian allrounder Hardik Pandya in their first outing.
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New entrants Gujarat Titans (GT) have had a perfect start in their debut season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The Ahmedabad-based franchise has won their first two games in IPL 2022, which were held against Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) and Delhi Capitals (DC) respectively. Led by skipper Hardik Pandya, GT managed to beat LSG by five wickets in their first encounter and came on top against the Capitals, beating them by a margin of 14 runs.
GT have the likes of Gary Kirsten and Ashish Nehra and some prominent names in their coaching staff. At the same time, Shubman Gill, Hardik Pandya, Rashid Khan, Mohammed Shami and Lockie Ferguson are the big names among the players. With several heavyweights in the tournament, GT will be looking to give them a tough fight and hopefully go on to with the tournament.
On that note, let us look at five reasons why Gujarat Titans can win IPL 2022:
1. Strong bowling
The Titans have a formidable bowling line-up as they possess the likes of Mohammed Shami, Rashid Khan, and Lockie Ferguson. Among other bowlers, all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Rahul Tewatia are also very handy. To note, the GT bowlers played a very crucial role in the franchise’s last two wins. As a result, both Shami and Ferguson were named Player of the Match in the two encounters that GT have played so far.
The Ahmedabad-based franchise limited LSG to 158/6 in their first match of the tournament. Pacers Shami (3 for 25), Varun Aaron (2 for 45) and Lockie Ferguson (0 for 24) bowled their full quota of four overs and were quite impressive. They were equally supported by spinner Rashid Khan and Pandya.
In their second match against the Delhi Capitals, their opponents were close to a victory. However, the Kiwi pacer stood up for his team and scalped four wickets in his four-over quota. Shami, Pandya, and Rashid were also among the wickets, as GT crawled back in the contest, eventually winning it by 14 runs.
2. Experienced batting order
With the likes of Matthew Wade, Hardik Pandya, and David Miller in the ranks, GT have a very experienced batting line-up in their squad. Apart from these, GT also possess some quality Indian batters, including Shubman Gill, Vijay Shankar, and Rahul Tewatia. To note, the Ahmedabad-based franchise has crossed the 160-run mark in both their previous matches.
After the top-order failed to provide much of a contribution in their first match against LSG, experienced batters like Pandya (33 off 20 balls), Miller (30 off 21 balls), and Tewatia (40 off 24 balls), made vital contributions as GT successfully chased down the target of 159 runs with two balls remaining.
Young batter Gill stepped up in GT’s second match of the season against the Capitals and played an impressive knock (84 off 46 balls). The batter was supported by skipper Pandya, Miller, and Tewatia as they posted a competitive total of 171. The Titans have a very experienced batting line-up which might come in handy, if they manage to qualify for the playoffs.
3. Surprise element of Hardik’s captaincy
Ahead of IPL 2022, Indian all-rounder and GT skipper Hardik Pandya emphasized the fact that they are not in the tournament to prove anything and the side’s major focus will be on creating an environment where players can flourish. This is the first time that Pandya is donning the skipper’s hat and so far he has done well for the new franchise.
Hardik, as captain, has made some smart moves during Gujarat’s last two matches. For instance, the skipper introduced his main weapon Rashid Khan a tad late, saving at least two or three overs of him for the slog overs. Similarly, in the last match, Hardik took the new ball for his franchise and his move paid dividends. The right-arm pacer managed to scalp the Kiwi batter Tim Seifert.
Apart from his captaincy, Hardik has been consistent with the bat so far, scoring 64 runs. The 28-year-old has also promoted himself in the batting order as compared with his time in Mumbai Indians. It will be interesting to see how skipper Pandya manages the load of batting, bowling, and captaining the Ahmedabad-based franchise.
4. Good bench strength
Apart from having a stable batting and bowling line-up in their current playing XI, the Titans also have good bench strength. GT have some key options available such as Wriddhiman Saha, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Alzarri Joseph, and Jayant Yadav.
GT are doing well and do not need to tinker with their playing XI. However, the IPL is in its initial stage and a major part of the tournament is still left to play. As a result, the above-mentioned players can come as replacements for those who are not performing well or are injured or need rest.
Saha, Gurkeerat, Jayant, and Joseph have the experience of playing in the toughest cricket league in the world and can provide handy contributions if given the chances. It remains to be seen how Hardik will use his bench strength for the remainder of the tournament.
5. Hardik Pandya’s knowledge of Mumbai conditions
After making his debut for the Mumbai Indians in 2015, Hardik Pandya was an integral part of the five-time champions for the past six years. As a result, Hardik holds a great deal of knowledge of playing in Mumbai conditions, particularly at the Wankhede Stadium, the den of the five-time champions.
The Titans will play three out of 12 remaining matches at the Wankhede Stadium. With two wins already in their bag, GT will fancy their chances to win under the leadership of Hardik at the iconic venue. To note, the Titans will play Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Chennai Super Kings at that ground.
The IPL playoffs are also expected to be played either at the Wankhede Stadium or at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. The Titans will gladly take those options, provided they reach the play-offs first.