After a riveting set of 73 action-packed matches, the IPL 2023 Final is finally upon us where the defending Champions Gujarat Titans will lock horns with four-time winners Chennai Super Kings. The match will take place at the Titans’ homeground in Ahmedabad on May 29, and it is expected to be a close fight between two of the best teams of the season.
The Gujarat Titans, led by Hardik Pandya, have carried the momentum forward from last season. They finished the league stage as the table-toppers, winning 10 out of their 14 games. Although they lost to CSK in Qualifier 1, they registered a massive victory over Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 2 to make their way to the final. The team has worked really well together as a unit but some individuals have enjoyed a stellar season as well. At the top of that list is Shubman Gill, who is the Orange Cap holder in this season with more than 800 runs to his name, including three centuries. Vijay Shankar has been a revelation as well, amassing over 300 runs in a demanding middle-order role.
In the bowling front, Mohammed Shami and Rashid Khan have bowled some breathtaking spells. Both bowlers have been relentless wicket-takers and are occupying the top two places in the highest wicket-takers list this season. While Shami has claimed 28 wickets at an average of 17.60, Rashid has picked up 27 scalps at 18.80 runs a piece. But it is Mohit Sharma who has made a major difference for them. Coming in as a replacement bowler, he has gone on to claim 24 wickets in just 13 matches. He has been very consistent in the death overs and has been a weapon for the Titans in that phase. Gujarat will be hoping for an equally good performance from these individuals on the night of the final.
As far as things for Chennai Super Kings go, they have overcome many odds this season to make it this far. Their bowling unit was considered to be one of the weakest ahead of this season, but MS Dhoni has marshaled his troop very well and has managed to bring the best out of them. Uncapped pacer Tushar Deshpande has enjoyed an excellent season, picking up 21 wickets in 15 matches. Sri Lankan speedster Matheesha Pathirana and spinner Maheesh Theekshana have been two big weapons for Dhoni in the death and middle-overs respectively. Ravindra Jadeja, along with making crucial contributions with the bat, has gone on to pick up 19 wickets as well.
But it has really been CSK’s batting that has made the difference for them. Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad have been consistent performers at the top of the order. While Conway has amassed over 600 runs at an average of over 50, Gaikwad has also scored over 550 runs. Shivam Dube’s contribution has also been crucial in their success. He has performed consistently in the middle-order, scoring 386 runs at a strike-rate of 158.84. Apart from them, skipper Dhoni has also made vital contributions in the death overs, amassing 104 runs at a brilliant strike-rate of 185.71.
CSK will be hoping for their batters and bowlers to come to the party again in this final match of the tournament. They already defeated the Titans in the first qualifier and that gives them a mental advantage going into this contest. But that match was in Chepauk, where CSK are a force to reckon with. And this game is going to be played in the Titans’ den in Ahmedabad, where they have a stellar record as well.
Probable Playing XIs
Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Shubman Gill, Sai Sudharsan, Vijay Shankar, Hardik Pandya (c), David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Mohit Sharma, Noor Ahmad, Mohammed Shami
Chennai Super Kings
Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devon Conway, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Shivam Dube, Moeen Ali, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Deepak Chahar, Tushar Deshpande, Maheesh Theekshana
Shubman Gill: The talented batter has amassed over 850 runs this season at an average of just a shade under 60. In fact, his record in Ahmedabad is far better as he has amassed 627 runs at this venue at an average of 78.38 and strike-rate of 155.58.
Devon Conway: The Kiwi batter is CSK’s highest run-getter this season with 625 runs to his name at an average of over 50. Conway has smashed six fifties as well and the onus will be on him this time to negate Shami and Hardik’s new ball spell.
Match Prediction: Who is Going To Win The Contest?
On paper, the Titans are a far stronger side than CSK and home advantage just tilts the advantage in their favour once again. So, Hardik Pandya’s men will start as the favourites to win this battle.