The day of reckoning is here for Gujarat Titans (GT) and Mumbai Indians (MI) as the two teams get ready for Qualifier 2 in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023. The winner of the match, which will take place at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday, will advance to the final against MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK), while the loser will pack their bags and go back home.
There’s an added motivation for both sides going into the contest.
GT are the defending champions and are aiming to win a second consecutive title in the second year since their inception.
Mumbai have eyes on a record-extending sixth title and want to stop CSK from equalling their record of five IPL titles.
GT have form in their favour
On the balance of things, one would pick Gujarat Titans to be the winner in Qualifier 2. Unlike MI who are propelled by debutants and youngsters, Hardik Pandya’s Gujarat Titans rely more on experience with a touch of youth and have a well-rounded squad.
In fact, one would say they are best in IPL 2023 as they finished on the top of the league table with 10 wins — the only team to do so.
Their consistency is awe-inspiring.
After winning the title last season in their debut campaign, the Ashish Nehra-coached side is once again in the race for the coveted IPL trophy.
For Mumbai however, there are a few positives that should allow them topple GT in Qualifier 2.
Overall, MI lead the head-to-head race 2-1 and defeated Gujarat by 27 runs in the last match played between the two sides.
GT vs MI: Biggest player battles
Gujarat Titans had beaten Mumbai by 55 runs in the first match between the two this season.
Regardless of the form, a battle between contrasting styles of cricket is guaranteed in Qualifier 2.
Mumbai Indians are an all-out attacking team, while Gujarat Titans are more conservative and rely on their bowlers to do the job.
Almost 66% of Mumbai’s runs this season have come in boundaries. In sharp contrast, the number for GT is 58.65 — the third worst in the season.
While MI score a boundary every 2.3 balls, GT take 3 balls to get a boundary.
Gujarat have stronger stats in bowling depart. Mohammed Shami (26) and Rashid Khan (25) are the leading wicket-takers in IPL 2023 and Gujarat have taken a wicket every 17.3 balls. That number for Mumbai is 20.5 balls.
Not everything is different about the teams. The fact that both sides are led by calm and composed leaders has led to a similar approach to handling results and expectations. There’s little room for complacency and panic.
Both Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya are believers in controlling the controllables and not worrying about circumstances that are out of their hands.
It has created an environment where players are not easily fazed in the face of adversity.
This and the fact that both teams are so different in their strengths and are well aware of their powers should make for an intriguing contest in IPL Qualifier 2.