Gujarat Titans (GT) are still raw in the IPL setup but in the short period of their existence, which is still less than two seasons, Hardik Pandya and Co. have emerged as one of the powerhouses. The team went on to win the tournament in their maiden season and going by the form they’ve displayed it shouldn’t come as a surprise if they repeat the feat in the ongoing edition as well.
The team finished the league stages as table-toppers, finishing with 20 points from 14 encounters and were the first among the ten to qualify for the play-offs. They will now look to register a spot in the finals as they lock horns with IPL heavyweights Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Qualifier 1, which will be played at Chepauk on Tuesday.
While the stadium is expected to remain a full house but local supporters could well be on the receiving end as the reigning champions aim to successfully defend their title, a feat already achieved by their opponents over a decade ago.
Impressed with their show, South Africa legend and former Mumbai Indians player Shaun Pollock made an interesting analogy and branded Gujarat Titans as the “Manchester City of IPL”. Pollock made the remark in reference to City winning the English Premier League title for three years in a row.
“We’ll probably have to call them the Manchester City of the IPL at the moment,” noted Pollock during an interaction on Cricbuzz.
While the former Proteas quick has been mighty impressed with Gujarat’s show in IPL 2023, he did warn them to remain grounded as the “difficult part of the tournament” starts from here onwards.
“Look at the net run-rate, plus 0.8. Not only have they been winning, but they’ve been winning in style. They must go in with a lot of confidence. I mean it’s always a difficult part of the tournament now. You think over the last ten days they’ve already qualified for the first play-off game and they haven’t really had to deal with pressure. Then all of a sudden you go back and you go do or die. Not in the first game, but obviously in the second. So at some stage they have to face reality that they could get knocked out.
“And that’s the only different environment or curveball that gets thrown into the equation, but for the rest of it they’ve been calm throughout the tournament and they’ve looked really good,” he added.
Between the two sides – CSK and GT – the winning team will directly enter the finals, while the losing side will get another opportunity to reach the finale. They will then lock horns with the winners of Eliminator 1, which will be played between Lucknow Super Giants and Mumbai Indians.