Kolkata: Two of the four teams that have advanced to the playoffs are debutants—Gujarat Titans (GT) and Lucknow Super Giants (LSG), while one, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), have been looking for their first title, and the fourth, Rajasthan Royals (RR), won the coveted trophy in its inaugural season, captained by spin wizard Shane Warne (who died recently due to cardiac arrest).
The Gujarat Titans kicked off their campaign with a positive note under the captaincy of Hardik Pandya. They cemented their place in the playoffs with a couple of games in hand.
GT have put their foot in the right spot. Team members are backing up their skipper admirably. Most of the time, they never let the team management down with their performances. Mohammad Shami, the pick of the bowlers in the powerplay, grabbed the most wickets in this phase of this edition of the IPL. Rashid Khan, as usual, kept one end tight and most of the time his economy and timely wickets swung the pendulum of the match in GT’s kitty.
GT, outstanding in chase
The Hardik Pandya-led side won all their six chases in the final over-the most by any franchise in the 15th season of the IPL. The batting of Gujarat looks very solid and it is difficult for any opponent to dislodge Gujarat easily.
The only weakness of the franchise that was revealed at the league stage is the defence of targets. They have lost three encounters out of four while defending the target.
Rajasthan Royals (RR) would like to repeat their 2008 performance to pay tribute to spin legend Shane Warne, who captained the side in that IPL.
The RR pacers are maintaining good line and length and have been less expensive in the powerplay. But the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and R Ashwin have stolen the show. They together have scalped 38 wickets at 23.55 in the league stage.
Jos Buttler was in remarkable form in the early matches of the IPL. He was single-handedly responsible for the bulk of the scoring for RR in the first half of the season, averaging 81.83. After that, his average graph came down drastically, at 19.71 in the latter half. Several players or RR are in superb form, so the team grabbed the playoffs berth quite easily in the end.
The RR record at the Eden Gardens is not astonishing. The franchise played nine matches at this historic venue and won just two. The wicket at Eden is expected to help the pacers. Chasing teams have emerged victorious in three out of five games. So the toss will not matter much in tonight’s encounter. The weather department has forecasted thunderstorms with a humidity of up to 68 percent.
Both teams have only played each other once in the league stage, with the Gujarat Titans defeating the Royals.
The Titans successfully chased down all the targets in the final over-the most by a team in this season of IPL.
Chahal has taken most wickets in death overs, while Rashid Khan has the distinction of being the most economical bowler in this phase.
It is expected to be a thrilling match tonight. Both sides are gearing up to play their best cricket. Fans have a chance to see some marvellous cricket tonight.