Gujarat Titans face Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 2 of IPL 2023, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Friday. A lot is at stake for both teams as the winner will face Chennai Super Kings in the final. Defending champions GT finished on top of the table during the league phase, with 20 points in 14 matches, packed with 10 wins and four losses. But they were given a reality check in Qualifier 1, losing to CSK by 15 runs.
Chasing a target of 173 runs, Gujarat were bowled out for 157 in 20 overs. Shubman Gill top-scored for GT with a knock of 42 runs off 44 balls. Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Maheesh Theekshana and Matheesha Pathirana were in hot bowling form for CSK and scalped two wickets each. Initially, CSK reached 172/7 in 20 overs, courtesy of a knock of 60 runs off 44 deliveries by Ruturaj Gaikwad. For GT’s bowling department, Mohammed Shami and Mohit Sharma bagged two dismissals.
Ahead of their do-or-die clash vs Rohit Sharma’s MI, GT will need to sort out some issues. The Hardik Pandya-led side are one of the strongest teams but some of their weak points were made visible by CSK. One of the weak points in the squad is Dasun Shanaka, and he once again failed to have an impact in Qualifier 1, getting dismissed for 17 runs off 16 balls.
The Sri Lankan has managed to muster only 26 runs in three matches for GT and is expected to be dropped for the upcoming clash. Even former cricketer Virender Sehwag stated that Shanaka should be dropped for Qualifier 2.
Speaking to Cricbuzz, Sehwag said, “I’m not worried about the bowling too much. But I am worried about Dasun Shanaka, GT can play Odean Smith and Alzarri Joseph for him. Shanaka has been disappointing. We had big hopes from him and he hasn’t lived up to even 1 percent to those expectations. GT should play Manhor instead of Shanaka, as he is a batter who can smash sixes.”
For GT, their batting hopes will be dependent on Shubman Gill. The India opener is second in the Orange Cap race with 722 runs in 15 matches, at an average of 53.25 and 139.82 strike rate. Gill has also smacked two tons and four half-centuries for GT this season and could topple RCB skipper Faf du Plessis (730 runs) from top of the Orange Cap race.