Can Rajasthan Royals get past the high flying Gujarat Titans in the final tomorrow? That’s the question every Royals fan would have on their minds after their team knocked out Royal Challengers Bangalore comprehensively in Qualifier 2 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
The reason being Gujarat Titans have been the team to beat this IPL and have beaten Royals twice, the latest being in Qualifier 1 when David Miller hit three consecutive sixes off Prasidh Krishna to seal the game. But the way Sanju Samson’s team bounced back to win the high-pressure game against Bangalore was commendable and he must be hoping his team can repeat that clinical performance and get the better of the home team - which be supported by 100,000 odd fans who will throng the stadium.
Samson had taken the bold step of fielding first against Bangalore and with the help of Jos Buttler, chased down the target easily but Titans would be a different kettle of fish where chasing won’t be that easy against a quality seam attack which has Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson and Yash Dayal - backed by the ever reliable Rashid Khan who just gave away 15 runs in the last match in his four overs.
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Moreover, the vociferous crowd will be all backing the home side.
Royals have heavily relied on their opener Buttler, who has scored 824 runs in 16 games with four centuries this IPL so far and will hope he can play one more special innings to set up a target or chase down whatever the Titans put up. Most importantly, Samson will have to prove his detractors that he too can play a long innings and not a cameo as he has got all the talent to tear apart any bowling attack on his day.
This is Royals’ second final in 15 years after they won the first time way back in the inaugural season in 2008. Can they give a perfect tribute to Shane Warne, who passed away this year and was the captain in the inaugural season.
Only time will tell but beating Gujarat Titans won’t be an easy job as they are brimming with confidence and have all the bases covered.
- Cricket enthusiast Anis Sajan is the Vice Chairman of Danube Group