Defending champions Gujarat Titans look to build on reputation


Defending champions Gujarat Titans look to build on reputation

Ganesh Chandrasekaran


The reigning champions will have the added advantage of playing their home games at a venue that must hold sweet memories already. The venue could hold additional advantage if they stick to their strength, which has been the ability to chase down games. In the last season they won eight of the nine games they chased, which matches with the overall record at the stadium (5-2 in favour of teams chasing).

While the unit looks tightly composed overall, GT had the advantage of running with the momentum with some key players, the likes of Wriddhiman Saha and Rahul Tewatia, hitting top form with the bat which enabled them to get on the right side of several close finishes. GT would be guarding against the law of averages catching up at some point. And for that, they’d require their bowling strength to carry on as well as they have in the previous season.

It remains Hardik Pandya’s biggest advantage to possess an attack that is capable of challenging oppositions on various fronts. That aside, many of their key players are coming into the season on the back of good form, which should hold them in great stead if they are to play to the reputation they’ve built for themselves now.

Where they finished last year:Title winners

What did they try to address in the mini-auction?

One of the requirements for the Gujarat Titans heading into the mini auction was that of a top-order batter and they managed to plug that gap by bagging Kane Williamson at base price. His poor returns in the previous season notwithstanding, Williamson comes into this season on the back of good form, albeit in a different format. They’ve also addressed the option of having back-up overseas fast bowling options with the inclusions of Josh Little and Odean Smith. They also picked Shivam Mavi, who made his T20I debut for India as well earlier this year.

Squad:Shubman Gill, Sai Sudharsan, Wriddhiman Saha, Matthew Wade, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Abhinav Manohar, Hardik Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Rashid Khan, Sai Kishore, Noor Ahmad, Jayant Yadav, Alzarri Joseph, Mohammed Shami, Yash Dayal, Darshan Nalkande, Pradeep Sangwan, Shivam Mavi, Joshua Little, Kane Williamson, KS Bharat, Odean Smith, Mohit Sharma, Urvil Patel.

Player to watch:

Shubman Gill – The opener has risen to become a three-format starter for India over the last year and comes into the tournament having levelled up as a player. The form guide (6 tons and 10 fifties in white-ball cricket since 2022) suggests that he would be one of the batters to watch out for not only in the team, but in the tournament as a whole.

Injuries and availability:

Joshua Little, if picked for the two series that Ireland play during the IPL season, could be missing in action till April 28. David Miller will feature for South Africa until April 2.

Possible XI and potential Impact Player tactic:

With the likelihood of starting with four foreigners, who would be integral to their plans across various stages of the game – A top-order batter, a finisher in the middle order, a T20 all-time great in Rashid Khan, and a death overs bowler in Joseph – GT is unlikely to exploit the tactic of naming just three foreigners in their starting eleven. The likes of Jayant Yadav could be used as a match-up option while Yash Dayal brings about a left-arm seam angle, and additionally, two of the many batting options that GT have could be used to bolster that facet of their game.

Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha, Kane Williamson, Hardik Pandya, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, R Sai Kishore, Rashid Khan, Alzarri Joseph, Shivam Mavi, Mohammed Shami

Four possible Impact Subs: Jayant Yadav, Abhinav Manohar, Sai Sudarshan/KS Bharat, Yash Dayal.

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