With the first phase of the IPL 2023 Playoffs over, all eyes turn to Ahmedabad for the final two games of the tournament. Before we know who’ll be joining Chennai Super Kings in the final, Gujarat Titans will square off against Mumbai Indians at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Qualifier 2.
Despite coming off second best against CSK on Tuesday, Hardik Pandya’s Titans will get another shot at making it to the final as a consequence of them finishing top of the league table during the regular season.
Mumbai Indians enter this game high on confidence following a dominant victory over the Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator match.
Alarm bells might be sounding in the Gujarat Titans camp about the form of their middle order, which has struggled to perform in recent matches.
Despite coming into their game against CSK after back-to-back victories, the team’s successes in those games were largely built on the qualities of opener Shubman Gill. The Indian smashed consecutive centuries to round off GT’s regular season and together with contributions at number three from Sai Sudharsan (against Sunrisers Hyderabad) and Vijay Shankar (against Royal Challengers Bangalore), the top order for Gujarat got things done. However, there’s an argument to suggest there’s an over reliance on the top three.
Gujurat’s top three batters have scored 62% of the team’s entire runs tally in the 2023 IPL, the third highest proportion of any team (RCB – 65%, CSK – 64%). It’s great that their top order is performing but their middle order (batters four to seven) has only scored 33% of their total runs this campaign. Again, that’s the third lowest mark behind RCB and CSK. Pandya will be hoping for a favourable Ahmedabad pitch that allows his batters to excel all the way down the order.
Despite some initial struggles with their bowling attack, the Mumbai Indians reached the qualifier stage via an impressive performance with the ball against Lucknow Super Giants, who they bowled out for just 101 runs.
If their bowling issues are indeed resolved, then Mumbai might well be poised to make yet another deep run at the trophy.
With the bat, the middle-order duo of Suryakumar Yadav and Cameron Green has been in destructive form, often acting as the catalyst for MI’s comebacks. SKY is one of the leading run scorers in this competition (seventh with 544 runs), while Green (389) has scored more runs than anyone else while batting at number three.
Rohit Sharma’s lack of form will be a concern for Mumbai, but the team’s deep line-up, featuring big hitters Tilak Varma, Nehal Wadhera and Tim David, makes them a danger regardless of how many wickets are in the hutch.
Head-to Head Record
IPL 2022 | 6 May, 2022 | MI won by 5 runs | Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai
IPL 2023 | 25 April, 2022 | GT won by 55 runs | Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad
IPL 2023 | 12 May , 2023 | MI won by 27 runs | Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
This will be the fourth game between Gujarat Titans and Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, with the latter enjoying a slightly better record against the defending champions.
Remarkably, Mumbai are the only team in IPL history to have won more than one game against Gujarat. The Titans are obviously a fledgling franchise, but that stat just shows how dominant they’ve been since their inception.
This will be the second time that these sides will square off against each other in Ahmedabad with the Titans winning the previous encounter by 55 runs earlier this season. Gujarat have won four games at their home ground this season with only Mumbai and Chennai recording more such victories (five each).
Mumbai, on the other hand, have played three games in Ahmedabad. They won their inaugural game in 2014 against Rajasthan Royals while losing their next two – one against the Royals and one against the Giants.
Record In Playoffs
No team has a better win percentage in the playoffs stage in the IPL than Mumbai Indians (68%), while only Chennai Super Kings (25) have played more games in the IPL playoffs (19).
Gujarat’s perfect playoff record was snapped in their defeat against CSK, but they still have the second-best win percentage of all teams in the IPL playoffs (67% – min. three games played).
Key Players to Watch
Shubman Gill (Gujarat Titans): He was our player to watch in GT’s qualifier and he’s back again. He simply has to be.
Gill has been in outstanding form throughout the season. As mentioned, he hit consecutive centuries to close out the regular season, and that feat places him among an elite group of batters in IPL history alongside the likes of Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, and Jos Buttler.
With 722 runs from 15 knocks this season, Gill is only nine runs away from becoming the leading run-scorer of the season and will surely dethrone Faf du Plessis’ current tally of 730 runs in this match.
Gill’s exceptional campaign has seen him become the second Indian player to surpass the 700-run milestone in a single IPL season. Virat Kohli holds the record, plundering 973 runs in 2016.
Gill smashed a fifty against MI earlier this season and with an impressive average of 124 in his last three innings, GT will be desperate for Gill to maintain his remarkable form during the playoffs.
Rashid Khan (Gujarat Titans): Leg spinner Rashid Khan is one of GT’s prized assets. Not only is he exceptionally economical with the ball, he’s also got the ability to take crucial wickets. Only his teammate Mohammed Shami (26) has taken more wickets than him (25) in this IPL season, as the pair of them vie for the Purple Cap.
Rashid has been remarkably consistent ever since his arrival in the IPL. He’s picked up 15+ wickets in each of his last seven seasons with Lasith Malinga (eight), Jasprit Bumrah (seven) and Yuzvendra Chahal (seven) the only other players to have taken as many wickets in seven or more seasons.
Suryakumar Yadav (Mumbai Indians): Although Suryakumar Yadav started the season slowly, he has returned to form at the crucial moment. He smoked a century (103*) the last time these two teams faced off and is currently alive in the race for the Orange Cap.
His strike rate of 183.8 is the highest of any batter to have faced a minimum of 100 deliveries this term.
SKY has also struck a boundary once every 3.5 deliveries this campaign, which again is the best for any batter to have faced a minimum of 100 deliveries (tied with Yashasvi Jaiswal).
His explosive batting and vast array of shots will make him a formidable opponent against a Gujarat attack he’s already demolished once this season.
Akash Madhwal (Mumbai Indians): Having been signed as a replacement player for Suryakumar Yadav in IPL 2022, Akash Madhwal has taken the IPL by storm. In just seven games in the competition, the pacer boasts a five-for, four-for and a three-for.
His incredible figures of 5/5 against Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator match saw him record the fourth-best bowling performance in the history of IPL (tied with Anil Kumble) while this was also the best bowling performance by an uncapped Indian bowler in history, surpassing Ankit Rajpoot’s 5/14 against Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2018.
Given Gujarat’s middle-order struggles, Madhwal will be key for Mumbai if they are to put the brakes on the Titans’ innings during the slog overs – a role he is a specialist for.
GT vs MI Match Prediction
Despite Mumbai Indians holding an advantage over Gujarat Titans in the head-to-head count, our Opta Supercomputer rates the hosts as slight favourites to progress to the final at the second time of asking. That is mainly due to their consistency throughout the season, plus their home advantage.
But they are only just favourites. Mumbai (47.7%) have won six of their last eight matches – including a win against the Titans – and you just cannot rule out Rohit Sharma’s team at this stage in the competition.