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Gujarat stands in the middle of Mumbai’s seventh final, Qualifier-2 to be played in Ahmedabad


New Delhi: Defending champions Gujarat Titans will take on five-time champions Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 2, who scored a big win over Lucknow Supergiants in the Eliminator thanks to Akash Madhwal’s brilliant performance. In this competition to be held on Friday at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, the winning team will book a ticket to the final where it will face Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings.

Mumbai’s performance this season has been fluctuating but now the team has returned to its rhythm at the right time and the win against Lucknow Super Giants is a wake-up call for Gujarat. In the absence of Jofra Archer and Jasprit Bamrah, the team reached the qualifiers and are now just one step away from playing their seventh final. Australian all-rounders Cameron Green, Surya Kumar Yadav and Tim David have handled the challenges well for the team. Apart from him, young batsman Nehal is also making an impact while the opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan are playing their part. In front of these batsmen, there will be a tough test for the Gujarat bowlers under the leadership of experienced fast bowler Mohammed Shami.

Madhwal bowled brilliantly in the last match against Lucknow. He took five wickets for five runs in 3.5 overs. The team will expect similar performances from him. Among other Mumbai bowlers, veteran leg-spinner Piyush Chawla and fast bowler Jason Behrendorff have also bowled well. Fast bowler Chris Jordan, who gave runs in the last few matches, took one wicket for seven runs in two overs against Lucknow, which is a good sign for Mumbai.

Gujarat Titans will enter this match after losing to Chennai in the first qualifier. They will have to be at their best to make it to the final of the IPL for the second time in a row. All the players from Gujarat have contributed so far. Shubman Gill and Vijay Shankar have done exceptionally well with the bat. Gill did not perform as expected against Chennai, but this opener, who scored a century in the last two matches of the league stage, will be the biggest challenge for Mumbai.

Gill has handled the responsibility of Gujarat Titans’ batting very well. This can be gauged from the fact that he has scored 722 runs in 15 matches so far. Apart from him, Vijay Shankar has scored the most runs for Gujarat, but he is 421 runs behind Gill. Shankar still has 301 runs in 12 matches. Gill needs just eight runs to go past Faf Duplessis of RCB for the most runs in the season. However, the poor performance of captain Hardik Pandya is a matter of concern for Gujarat. He has scored only 45 runs in the last five matches. David Miller has also failed to play big innings in the middle order. In the last three matches, he could not even reach the tenth mark. Mumbai and Gujarat will be face to face for the third time this season. So far both the teams have won one match each.