The Gujarat Titans (GT) will meet the Mumbai Indians (MI) in game 51 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Friday. It will be the clash of the top vs bottom. Gujarat are sitting pretty on top of the points table with eight wins from 10 games. Mumbai, on the other hand, are at the very bottom, with one win after nine matches. However, GT are coming off a defeat in their last match. They lost to the Punjab Kings (PBKS) by eight wickets after posting only 143 for 8 batting first. In contrast, Mumbai ended their eight-game losing streak by defeating the Rajasthan Royals (RR) by five wickets in their last match. After restricting a strong RR line-up to under 160, they chased down the total with ease. Here are five player battles to watch out for in MI-GT clash.
1. Wriddhiman Saha vs Jasprit Bumrah: Gujarat opener Wriddhiman Saha has been in good form at the start of the innings. Even as Shubman Gill has failed at the other end, Saha has given the innings the much-needed push at the start. He has a wide variety of strokes and is a highly underrated hitter, especially when it comes to the powerplay. Saha will be up against Jasprit Bumrah at the start of the innings. The MI pacer has been enduring a bad season. While he hasn’t had support from the other end, his personal form has dipped rather drastically. He has hardly got any wickets and will need to change that. He can begin by knocking over Saha early.
2. Suryakumar Yadav vs Lockie Ferguson: Suryakumar Yadav has been brilliant for MI ever since he has been available to play. In the last match as well, it was his half-century that set up Mumbai’s first win in IPL 2022. SKY has ensured that the runs have kept flowing at a good pace from his bat. Whenever he has been in the middle, Mumbai have had hope. He will want to continue his good form. Lockie Ferguson has gone off the boil in recent matches. He hasn’t been picking up wickets at will. The GT pacer will be keen to change things around. Sending back Surya cheaply will be a big fillip.
3. Sai Sudharsan vs Kumar Kartikeya: Sai Sudharsan was GT’s best batter in the team’s loss against Punjab. He looked in fine form and under no pressure at all as he stroked an unbeaten 65. Even as wickets kept falling at the other end, he maintained his composure and batted till the end. There will be high hopes from him again when Gujarat’s batting has not been in proper order. Left-arm spinner Kumar Kartikeya made an impressive debut for Mumbai against Rajasthan. He bowled four overs and gave away only 19 runs while picking up the wicket of Sanju Samson. Can he make an impact against Sudharsan?
4. Tilak Varma vs Rashid Khan: Apart from Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma has been MI’s best batter. In his debut season, he has come in and shown why he is rated so highly. Even in the last match, it was his partnership with Suryakumar that set up the win for MI. Varma will be keen to carry on his good run. Rashid Khan has done more with the bat than the ball for GT this season. Still, his threat as a leg spinner can never be ignored. Varma will have to be mindful of him.
5. Rahul Tewatia vs Riley Meredith: Rahul Tewatia has been Gujarat’s X-factor in the batting department. He has played some terrific cameos at the end of the innings and has taken the side over the line. He will be expected to deliver again. Riley Meredith has given MI some much-needed boost in the pace department. He was their best bowler in the last match as well, making an impression with genuine pace. Can he produce some magic to get rid of Tewatia cheaply?
–Renin Wilben Albert