Ahmedabad (Gujarat): The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 is all set for an epic final with debutants Gujarat Titans led by Hardik Pandya set to take on Rajasthan Royals, the winners of the inaugural edition of the league back in 2008, at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
Gujarat Titans sealed their spot in the finals with a seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals in Qualifier 1. RR got their second chance against Royal Challengers Bangalore, the winners of Eliminator against Lucknow Super Giants. RR made it count and clinched a seven-wicket win over RCB, entering their second IPL final since 2008.Gujarat Titans have left everyone awestruck with their performance in their debut season. From an all-around clinical display to snatching a match from the jaws of defeat, this team seems to know it all. They will be looking forward to making history and capturing the prestigious trophy in their first go itself.
Captaincy seems to have brought the best out of Hardik Pandya, as he continues to enjoy an outstanding season as a captain and batter. In 14 innings, he has scored 453 runs at an average of 45.30. Four fifties have come out of his bat in the season. Pandya will be looking forward to carrying on with his form and lead from the front. Wicketkeeper-batter David Miller, who has scored 449 runs at an average of 64.14 and two match-winning half-centuries so far, will be looking forward to completing his redemption arc after a series of sub-par seasons and help his side to the title. GT will also need Shubman Gill, the opener with 438 runs and four half-centuries to provide a great start to his side.
In terms of finishing touches, Rahul Tewatia will need to fire for his side in the end. So far, he has scored 217 runs in 12 innings at an average of 31 and the best score of 43*.
GT has a great bowling attack too, with pacer Mohammed Shami and spinner Rashid Khan leading from the front. In 15 games, both the bowlers have taken 19 and 18 wickets respectively. Rashid Khan has been a miser with the ball, with an economy rate of just 6.73. Lockie Ferguson (12 wickets), youngsters Yash Dayal (10 wickets) and Sai Kishore (4 wickets) will be looking forward to make an impact too.
On the other hand, Rajasthan Royals will be looking forward to winning their second IPL title. Winning a title would also have emotional significance for the team after their former captain Shane Warne's untimely demise in March. The side will be looking forward to win the title and deliver a perfect tribute to the man who had led the franchise to their first and only title so far.
For this, it will be of utmost importance for opener Jos Buttler to still be in his top form. The leading run-scorer in the season so far, he has scored 824 runs in 16 games at an average of 58.86. Four centuries and four half-centuries have come out of his bat.
Buttler will need ample support from Captain Sanju Samson, who has scored 444 runs at an average of 29.60 with two fifties. Samson will need to provide acceleration to the innings. Batters like Devdutt Padikkal (374 runs) and opener Yashasvi Jaiswal (236 runs) will also have to provide support to Buttler-Samson duo.
For chasing down a total or setting up a challenging total, Shimron Hetmyer (303 runs) will have to be in best form. All-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin, who has played some valuable innings for his side, will also have to stay ready for any challenge with the willow.
RR has undoubtedly the best bowling attack in this season, boasting of likes of spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who is side's leading wicket-taker with 26 scalps. He will not only be looking forward to seal the game for his side with his bowling, but also take back his Purple Cap from Wanindu Hasaranga of RCB, who has 26 scalps to his name too. Ravichandran Ashwin, who has taken 12 wickets so far, will have to be complement his partner Chahal's efforts in the finals.
Pace attack has plenty to offer as well. Prasidh Krishna (18 wickets), Trent Boult (15 wickets) and Obed McCoy (11 wickets) will have to put brakes on the run-scoring of their opposition just like they have done throughout the season, especially in the previous match against RCB.
With both sides possessing world-class batting and bowling attacks, fans are surely guaranteed an entertaining high octane clash fitting the standards of an IPL final. But only one of those teams will be on the right side of the history and emerge as the champions. The toss will happen at 7.30 pm followed by match at 8 pm.
Gujarat Titans squad: Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Shubman Gill, Matthew Wade, Hardik Pandya (c), David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Yash Dayal, Alzarri Joseph, Mohammed Shami, Pradeep Sangwan, Varun Aaron, Jayant Yadav, Vijay Shankar, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Abhinav Manohar, Darshan Nalkande, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Dominic Drakes, Sai Sudharsan, Noor Ahmad, Lockie Ferguson
Rajasthan Royals squad: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson (c & wk), Devdutt Padikkal, Shimron Hetmyer, Riyan Parag, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Prasidh Krishna, Obed McCoy, Yuzvendra Chahal, Karun Nair, James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Corbin Bosch, Navdeep Saini, KC Cariappa, Daryl Mitchell, Tejas Baroka, Kuldip Yadav, Anunay Singh, Kuldeep Sen, Dhruv Jurel, Shubham Garhwal. (ANI)