Newbies Gujarat Titans became the first team to qualify for the playoffs in the TATA IPL 2022 on the back of scintillating performances in the league stage.

Titans, under the leadership of their charismatic skipper Hardik Pandya, humbled debutants Lucknow Super Giants in their latest game by 62 runs and confirmed a playoff berth in style.

With 9 wins and 18 points in their kitty, Titans are placed comfortably at the top of the points table in the TATA IPL 2022 and they also look to favourites to finish in the top two.

Proving the cricket pundits wrong with their game, the Titans have been a team to beat in the most exciting IPL season and Hardik Pandya emerged as the best captain of the tournament so far.

Without any prior experience in captaincy, Hardik proved the naysayers wrong with his leadership skills and street smart decisions. He’s making the right calls at the right time and backing his players to the hilt, which are great signs for any leader.

The way Hardik is marshalling his troops is simply amazing and as a result, the team sees a new match-winner in every game. The decision to hand over a debut cap to an uncapped R Sai Kishore at the business end of the tournament also shows the confidence of the team management and the skipper in its bench strength.

Hardik has impressed with his astute captaincy moves. Experts reckon the added responsibility of leading the franchise is bringing the best out of the star India all-rounder.

Former Australian cricketer Matthew Hayden reckons Hardik is showing all the qualities of a good leader in the ongoing tournament as he keeps performing well against big teams.

Speaking on Cricket Live on Star Sports, Matthew Hayden said, “Good cricketers, good leaders in particular keep their best for the best of times and that’s Hardik Pandya (for you) right now. He’s performing well in all departments. I love his energy and the enthusiasm that he brings to the table.”

Hardik has returned to the cricket pitch after recovering from an injury but he’s showing no signs of fatigue or inhibitions. The Baroda all-rounder has amassed 344 runs in 11 games at an impressive strike rate of 131.80. Hardik has notched up three half-centuries in the most exciting IPL season and leading by example in all three departments.

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