The league phase of the Indian Premier League 2023 is over, and the stage is now set for the playoffs. Qualifier 1 sees the defending champions Gujarat Titans, who finished top of the table, face off against the Chennai Super Kings in what promises to be a thrilling contest. Both teams boast in-form players, particularly with the bat, and we should expect a tight battle between the competition’s two strongest sides. But where might the game be won and lost? And what does the Opta supercomputer make of it all? Let’s find out in our Gujarat Titans vs Chennai Super Kings prediction.
Gujarat Titans, led by Hardik Pandya, have enjoyed an impressive campaign thus far. Despite losing their key batter Kane Williamson to injury in the first game of the season, the Titans quickly raced out to a lead at top of the points table and have maintained that position ever since. Pandya will no doubt draw inspiration from his side’s undefeated record against the Chennai Super Kings as the Titans aim to secure a spot in the IPL final by winning this crucial match.
Opening batters Wriddhiman Saha and Shubman Gill have consistently provided positive starts, amassing nearly 1,000 runs between them. Gill in particular has been in electric form. Only Faf Du Plessis (730) has scored more runs than the Indian youngster (680) in the IPL 2023, and Gill comes into this game fresh off two match-winning hundreds in back-to-back innings.
Pandya, Sai Sudharsan and David Miller have been pivotal in the middle order, delivering match-winning performances, while the contributions of Rahul Tewatia and Rashid Khan, typically known for their bowling exploits, have added firepower to the lower order batting line-up. Rashid has lit up opposition bowlers, and his strike rate of 237.5 is the highest of all players in the tournament.
He’s also been outstanding with the ball this season, and his ability to trouble the opposition batters will be vital for the Titans’ success.
With 24 wickets in total thus far, Khan is tied for the Purple Cap together with teammate Mohammad Shami, and the pair are vital cogs in a Titans bowling attack that has been incredibly consistent throughout the tournament. Shami and Mohit Sharma will be tasked again with making early breakthroughs with the new ball, particularly as CSK rely so heavily on their opening batters – the pair have the best bowling averages of anyone to have played in 10+ games.
But there’s no doubt who the main man is. Rashid Khan is in the form of his life and for the Titans to have any chance of winning this game he must be on song. Given his performances this year, that seems like a forgone conclusion. Considering CSK’s batting depth, the Titans will need Noor Ahmad, Pandya, and Alzarri Joseph to perform well in their supporting roles.
The Chennai Super Kings enter this crucial match on the back of a commanding 77-run victory against the Delhi Capitals. Despite that win though, their bowling unit has lacked consistency throughout the tournament, and CSK have had to rely heavily on their batters to secure victories. Playing at their home ground here, MS Dhoni and his team will seek to leverage the advantage of familiar conditions and the support of the crowd.
Opening batters Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad have both enjoyed stellar campaigns, and the pair have compiled more than 1,000 runs between them. Playing in just his second IPL tournament, Conway has been a boon at the top of the order for CSK, amassing 585 runs to date at an average of 53.2. The Conway-Gaikwad pairing will once again need to provide a strong start.
Should they fall, the onus will be on Shivam Dube and Ajinkya Rahane to stabilise the middle order and make contributions with the bat. Ravindra Jadeja has been in fine form, adding firepower to the lower order alongside Moeen Ali and Dhoni.
Deepak Chahar has showcased his bowling prowess and will be entrusted with providing early breakthroughs, along with Tushar Deshpande – CSK’s leading wicket-taker – to put the Titans on the back foot. The consistency of Jadeja and Moeen Ali, who bring vast experience to the table, will be crucial in the middle overs, while Matheesha Pathirana and Maheesh Theekshana will be asked to put a stranglehold on the Titans’ scoring rate.
Head-to Head Record
IPL 2022 | 17 April, 2022 |GT won by 3 wickets | Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune
IPL 2022 | 15 May, 2022 |GT won by 7 wickets | Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
IPL 2023 | 31 March, 2023 |GT won by 5 wickets | Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad
Gujarat Titans have a flawless record against the Chennai Super Kings, having emerged victorious in each of their previous three encounters. However, this will be the first time that they’ve faced CSK at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium, which has been a fortress for Dhoni and co over the years.
Record In Playoffs
Both these teams have good records in the IPL elimination stage. No team has played more games in the IPL playoffs than Chennai (24), while they’ve also won more playoff games than anyone else (15). Added to that, their win percentage of 63% at this stage is second only to Mumbai’s 67% (min. three games).
Given how newly established Gujarat are as a franchise, they don’t appear in the above list, but they’ve got a good record in the playoff stages, too, winning each of their two encounters.
Key Players to Watch
Shubman Gill (Gujarat Titans): What a season it has turned out to be for Shubman Gill, with the Indian batter continuing his impressive form from international cricket in 2023.
Gill is the tournament’s second highest run-scorer (680), trailing only Royal Challengers Bangalore Faf du Plessis (730). The opener has single-handedly scored 27.8% of his team’s runs, a proportion which is second to only the RCB skipper (29.2%).
Just one player to have scored 200+ runs has a higher average than Gill’s 56.6 (Rinku Singh, Kolkata Knight Riders, 59.3). The opener has also recorded six scores of fifty or more runs, a feat surpassed only by Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis, who have registered eight each.
Mohammed Shami (Gujarat Titans): Mohammed Shami has been in exceptional form throughout IPL 2023, showcasing some of his best performances in the competition to date. With 24 wickets in 14 matches, he’s one of the top wicket-takers at the tournament, tied with teammate Rashid Khan.
Shami has been a dominant force during the Powerplay overs, with wickets in that phase of the game accounting for 15 of his 24 wickets, at an average of just over one wicket per game during the crucial Powerplay phase.
As Gujarat’s primary frontline bowler, Shami has bowled more Powerplay overs than anyone else in the entire IPL (37). He’s accumulated 134 dot balls during these overs, resulting in a dot ball rate of 60%. That dot-ball percentage is second only to Mohammed Siraj’s 66% among players who have bowled a minimum of 10 overs during this phase.
Devon Conway (Chennai Super Kings): Devon Conway has emerged as a sensational player in the 16th edition of the IPL, captivating audiences with his explosive performances at the top of the order. He has wreaked havoc on bowlers, scoring a boundary every fifth delivery. Among all CSK batters to have scored 200+ runs, only Ajinkya Rahane (4.7) has a lower balls-per-boundary rate.
With 585 total runs, Conway is CSK’s top run-scorer in the competition and ranks as fifth overall in the entire tournament.
Conway’s role in this game is made even more crucial given his impressive batting record against spin. Gujarat’s trio of spinners, Khan, Ahmad, and Tewatia, will likely bowl the bulk of the Titans’ overs and Conway’s batting average of 64.5 against spin – the third highest average in the tournament – make him an integral to CSK’s ability to counter one of Gujarat’s big strengths.
Similar to Gill, Conway’s contributions make up a huge proportion of CSK’s runs. The New Zealander has accounted for 24.7% of his team’s total runs in this tournament, the highest by any CSK player.
Matheesha Pathirana (Chennai Super Kings): Matheesha Pathirana has established himself as Chennai Super Kings’ primary death bowler throughout the IPL, showcasing his exceptional ability to bowl deadly and consistent yorkers.
His distinctive bowling action has made him a standout performer for the team and with an impressive tally of 15 wickets in just 10 matches, Pathirana boasts an average of 19.3 and an economy rate of 7.6. His ability to excel in high-pressure situations has made him an invaluable asset to the CSK bowling line-up.
Pathirana has been at his best when opposition batters have tried to be at their most destructive. Fourteen of his 15 wickets have come during the slog overs (overs 17-20), making him the leading wicket-taker in this phase for the season. Moreover, his dot ball rate of 39% in this crucial period stands as the best among players who have bowled a minimum of 10 overs.
His ability to restrict the opposition with dot balls will make him a vital player in the upcoming match against Gujarat, especially with batsmen like Pandya, Miller, and Rahul Tewatia known for their proficiency in the slog overs.
GT vs CSK Match Prediction
So, how does the Opta supercomputer see this playing out? Well, in what may well be a first, the model gives both teams a 50% chance of emerging victorious. We’re not saying you might as well just toss a coin… but we’re also not saying you shouldn’t.
The Gujarat Titans have emerged victorious in all three of their previous encounters against the Chennai Super Kings, and they have an unbeaten record in IPL Playoffs thus far. But crucially, CSK are formidable at home, and their overall record at the business end of this tournament is dominant.
Heads or tails?