Big picture: Gujarat Titans and Sunrisers Hyderabad at opposite ends
Monday evening in Ahmedabad could see one team make the playoffs in successive years since it started playing in the IPL, and the other fall short of it for the third time in a row. If Gujarat Titans win, they will be the first team this season to qualify for the playoffs – they will do so with a game in hand – while Sunrisers Hyderabad will be eliminated with two matches remaining.
But even if Sunrisers happen to cause an upset, they will be barely alive, and dependent on other results for their own fortunes. Titans have been so good that two losses in their last four matches have also kept them at the top of the table. Sunrisers have had exactly the same run in as many previous games, but had been erratic enough before that to now find themselves ninth.
The hosts have pretty much everything going their way: a solid opening pair, an in-form middle order, finishers on fire, and the highest wicket-taker of the season so far. Contrast that with Sunrisers’ sliding campaign, and you can make out the difference between the sides: only one of their batters averages over 30 after a minimum of eight innings, and only one bowler has at least ten wickets, compared to four from Titans.
But Sunrisers know that a collective performance and a win against a settled side, whom they haven’t faced this season, will not only keep their faint hopes flickering, but might also potentially disturb the equation for other teams.
Gujarat Titans LWWLW
(Last five completed matches, most recent first)
Sunrisers Hyderabad LWLWL
Team news: Little still away
Titans’ left-arm quick Josh Little is still away on national duty, and is set to miss this match. Sunrisers should have all players available for selection.
The big question
Which South African would come out on top in Ahmedabad?
Impact Player strategy
Titans swapped Mohit Sharma with Shubman Gill in their loss against Mumbai Indians, and are likely to continue with it depending on whether they bat or bowl first.
GT probable XII: 1 Shubman Gill, 2 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 3 Hardik Pandya (capt), 4 Vijay Shankar, 5 David Miller, 6 Abhinav Manohar, 7 Rahul Tewatia, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Alzarri Joseph, 10 Noor Ahmad, 11 Mohammed Shami, 12 Mohit Sharma
Sunrisers had brought on Vivrant Sharma for Anmolpreet Singh against Lucknow Super Giants, albeit the former didn’t get to bowl after coming in at the end of their innings. If Vivrant is left out against Titans – he is yet to bat in this tournament, and has bowled only two overs in two games – then they might swap Anmolpreet with T Natarajan or vice-versa.
SRH probable XII: 1 Anmolpreet Singh, 2 Abhishek Sharma, 3 Rahul Tripathi, 4 Aiden Markram (capt), 5 Glenn Phillips, 6 Heinrich Klaasen (wk), 7 Abdul Samad, 8 Vivrant Sharma, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Marco Jansen, 11 Mayank Markande, 12 T Natarajan
Stats that matter
Pitch and conditions
Ahmedabad has had scores of 175 and above while batting first in five out of six matches so far. And Titans’ two defeats at home have both pretty much been jailbreaks by the opposition: the first one fashioned by Rinku Singh, and the other by Ishant Sharma. As for the weather, it is expected to be hot and humid.
Himanshu Agrawal is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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