We already know that the Chennai Super Kings will be competing in the Indian Premier League final on Sunday and we find out their opponents in the IPL 2023 closer on Friday when the Gujarat Titans take on the Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 2.
The equation is very simple for this Ahmedabad showdown. The winner moves on to face the Super Kings on Sunday while the losers will be watching the final from their homes with their season done and dusted.
It is a weird quirk of the way the playoffs work that all the disadvantages that the Gujarat Titans faced in the first qualifier are advantages in their favour in this second chance for them to reach the final. This match is taking place on their home ground as opposed to them being the effective away team on Tuesday and it is their opposition who are flying in less than 48hrs after completing their win in the Eliminator.
I was worried about the Titans batting on a wicket which doesn’t allow the ball to come onto the bat as much as they would like on Tuesday and I was proved right to be concerned. That won’t be the problem here so now the question is whether their bowling resources have one more big push in them against a daunting batting unit to get their team over the line. If it has then we could be seeing the top two in the competition battling it out for the trophy on Sunday.
The Mumbai Indians do at least get the chance to head to Ahmedabad in confident mood. They won their final regular season game which was effectively a knockout match and then they won the first official knockout match in Chennai on Wednesday when they dominated the Lucknow Super Giants and now they will be looking for a third win in five days to secure their spot in the IPL 2023 final and set up a clash between the two historically most successful franchises in the competition.
You get the feeling that in the last couple of weeks the Mumbai Indians have really hit their straps. We are used to them doing that after taking a while to get going on the season but with their top six all scoring big runs and a couple of bowlers standing up and being counted, Mumbai have got on a roll at the right time. If their special batters come to the party here then they could easily have too much for even the defending champions.
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Shubman Gill couldn’t get away from the Chennai Super Kings bowlers on Tuesday and his team were never really in the run chase as a result of that. Gujarat will be hoping their gun opener can hit his straps here.
Cameron Green has looked in explosive form for the last couple of weeks, with his best work coming with the bat and while he isn’t getting used as much with the ball there could easily be a situation where Rohit Sharma throws it to him for an over or two.
If you have followed me all the way through the tournament from the very beginning you will already be on the Mumbai Indians to win this match at 7/2 as they were my outright selection for the tournament and a win here will bring home the place money. I do think they carry the better confidence and momentum into the game but it could be the lack of recovery time that might be their undoing. I’m still comfortable letting that bet ride though.
The bet I like for this match is over 44.5 boundaries. All the talk is that the wicket prepared for this match is one of the ones which hasn’t been used much in the tournament and as such it looks like being a belter and the boundaries on this ground are more than accessible. As ever in a Gujarat match, they don’t always hit the number of sixes you would expect a team of their calibre to do so I’ll take the boundaries over the sixes for a little more comfort. The likes of Shubman Gill, David Miller, Rohit Sharma, Cameron Green and Suryakumar Yadav are all in great form and I expect the boundaries to flow here.
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