Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals, having finished one and two respectively in the points table at the end of the Indian Premier League 2022 league stage, will clash in Qualifier 1 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday. The winner of the match will, of course, qualify directly for the final.
The Titans, led by Hardik Pandya, are one of the two new franchises this IPL and have impressed by winning 10 of their 14 league matches to finish atop the points table. They won eight of their first nine matches to remain on track for reaching the playoffs spot throughout, then defeated Lucknow Super Giants and Chennai Super Kings towards the end to ensure they remained ahead of the pack.
The Royals, meanwhile, won six of their first eight matches and also emerged victorious in their last two matches to gain much-needed form heading into the playoffs. Sanju Samson and Co were tied on points with LSG but their superior net run-rate ensured they got a spot in Qualifier 1.
IPL 2022 points table after league stage
Previous meeting this season
Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals played each other just once during the league stage, with the former coming out on top at the DY Patil Stadium. It was match No 24 of the season and RR won the toss and opted to bowl first. Gujarat found themselves in a spot of bother at 15/2 and then 53/3 but then skipper Pandya took control and scored an unbeaten 87 off 52 to help his team finish with 192/4. Abhinav Manohar (43 off 28) and David Miller (31* off 14) also made key contributions. Yash Dayal and Lockie Ferguson then picked up three wickets apiece as Rajasthan were restricted to 155/9 and GT won by 37 runs. Jos Buttler scored a half-century at the top of the order and Shimron Hetmyer got a 17-ball 29 but it wasn’t enough. Pandya was declared the player of the match for his knock.
Top 3 batters for GT so far in IPL 2022
Top 3 bowlers for GT so far in IPL 2022
Top 3 batters for RR so far in IPL 2022
Top 3 bowlers for RR so far in IPL 2022
Some key matchups
Hardik Pandya vs Yuzvendra Chahal: He’s gained appreciation for his leadership from his teammates and has also ensured he’s contributed for his team with the bat. After being a finisher at Mumbai Indians for years, Pandya led a team in the IPL for the first time and promoted himself to the No 4 position in the batting order. The right-hander has scored runs consistently this season and GT will hope he takes responsibility in the playoffs too. However, he could face a tough challenge from Yuzvendra Chahal in Qualifier 1. The leg-spinner has the Purple Cap and has been the highest wicket-taker (or second) for most of the season. He operates in the middle overs and RR will expect him to put Pandya under pressure. Chahal is bowling with great confidence at the moment and GT will definitely be wary of his threat.
Jos Buttler vs Mohammed Shami: He had a sensational first half of the season, slamming three centuries and pulling well ahead at the top of the highest run-scorer’s list. Buttler stuck to his guns and took his time to settle in before finding boundaries at will. His form played a huge part in ensuring RR remain in the hunt for a playoffs spot. But the right-hander’s form has dipped of late and he has managed to score just 11 runs in the last three games. In Qualifier 1, Gujarat will rely on Shami to use the new ball and possibly remove Buttler early. The right-arm pacer has picked wickets with a solid economy rate this season and his spell could go a long way in determining the outcome of the match.
Sanju Samson vs Rashid Khan: The RR skipper is the second-highest run-getter of his team this season. Samson’s season with the bat has neither been poor nor great. He has shown sparks of brilliance, as he usually does, but Rajasthan will be hoping he finds his match-winning best in the business end of the tournament. The right-hander’s ability needs no introduction and if he gets his eye in, GT will have their task cut out. But Gujarat, too, have an ace up their sleeve. Rashid is arguably the best T20 spinner in world cricket and he has been among the top wicket-takers yet again. The Afghan leg-spinner is used as a strike bowler and Gujarat will bank on him to tackle Samson and dominate the middle overs as he often does.
Spinner Sai Kishore to the GT website: “Hardik (skipper Pandya) to me has been pretty simple... I find him as a very strong personality. He carries himself with a lot of confidence, and has confidence in his players as well. Not trying to impose himself on all the players. Give them their space, their freedom and ‘you express yourselves. If something goes wrong, I’ll be there’. That’s how I’ve seen Hardik.”
RR captain Sanju Samson: “I think I’ve actually developed and kept on learning as a batter and also as a captain. I’m really enjoying the responsibility of leading this team, especially with so many experienced players in our side. I think when you lead a side, it’s very important to have that kind of perspective where you allow people to come and talk to you in pressure situations and allow them to express their ideas. I do receive a lot of information, a lot of suggestions... So, I’m really enjoying the unity and the willingness of everyone to contribute to the team, and I think it’s very important to listen to everyone. But I also know that the final call has to be from my side, and I have to take the ownership of each and every decision made by the team.”
Gujarat Titans: Shubman Gill, Sai Sudharsan, Abhinav Manohar, David Miller, Matthew Wade, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya (c), Dominic Drakes, Vijay Shankar, Jayant Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Varun Aaron, Darshan Nalkande, Yash Dayal, Pradeep Sangwan, Alzarri Joseph, Sai Kishore, Noor Ahmad, Lockie Ferguson, Mohammed Shami, Rahmanullah Gurbaz.
Rajasthan Royals: Karun Nair, Rassie van der Dussen, Devdutt Padikkal, Shimron Hetmyer, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (c), Jos Buttler, Dhruv Jurel, Anunay Singh, James Neesham, Daryl Mitchell, Riyan Parag, R Ashwin, Shubham Garhwal, Kuldip Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Sen, Obed McCoy, Tejas Baroka, KC Cariappa, Yuzvendra Chahal, Prasidh Krishna, Trent Boult, Corbin Bosch.
As per Press Trust of India, the IPL guidelines for the playoffs do not have a reserve day for any match other than the final. The report quoted an IPL brief as saying, “For the Eliminator and each Qualifier playoff matches, in the event that it is not possible to schedule a five-over match to complete by the end of the extra time on the original day, the teams will, if conditions permit, play a Super Over to determine the winner of the relevant Eliminator or Qualifier match. If the Super Over is not possible the team that finished highest in the league table after the 70 matches of the regular season shall be declared the winner of the relevant playoff match or final.”
Indian Premier League 2022 Qualifier 1 between Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals will begin at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday, May 24, at 7.30 pm IST.