Cricket

‘Gujarat Model’: No-Fear Approach Helps Titans Dwarf Giants In IPL

| Updated : May 11, 2022, 6:55 pm
Updated : May 11, 2022, 6:55 pm

Share

News title here

BENGALURU: The new kid off the block made the mark as Gujarat Titans became the first team to qualify for the playoffs of Indian Premier League 2022.

Titans sealed the deal with a 82-run win over fellow newcomers, and high flyers, Lucknow Super Giants, who too had impressed everyone with their performance in their debut season.

The result should help calm the nerves of the Titans who had suffered losses against struggling Mumbai Indians and a familiar far-from impressive Punjab Kings. Incidentally, the Titans’ only other loss of the season came early in the season against Sunrisers Hyderabad. They have so far won nine of their 12 matches this season.

Titans’ stellar performance in the season is the talk of the town and their skipper Hardik Pandya made no attempt to keep the emotions in check.


“I am really proud of the boys. When we started this journey together, we obviously believed in ourselves, but before the 14th game to have qualified, it’s a great effort,” Pandya said after the match.

“I spoke to the boys after the loss against Mumbai Indians and said that we thought that the game was already over before it was over. I said, ‘Let’s be ruthless. This game is beautiful. If it’s not over, it’s not over. That was a learning experience which we took. I think all the games that we’ve won, we were always under pressure,” he stated.

Here are the three reasons behind their stupendous success:

1) Hardik Pandya’s spirited captaincy: There were a lot of question marks about Pandya’s fitness and form before the tournament. But he worked assiduously on his fitness, put in the hard yards and completely reinvented himself. He has batted at no.4 in the tournament and is looking in the best form of his life. While hitting prowess has always been unquestionable, now there is more method and calibration in his batting. His unbeaten 87 against Rajasthan Royals and 67 against Kolkata Knight Riders were top-class innings which catapulted his team to victories.

He is also bowling with vigour and looks super athletic in the field, though he did not bowl much in the last couple of matches. Moreover, he has taken new players under his wings and is supporting them to the hilt. He mentioned that there is no hierarchy in the team and everyone is encouraged to speak their mind and give suggestions. His bowling changes at critical moments have also worked tremendously well.

2) Bowling in the Powerplay and death overs: One of the biggest strengths of Titans is how their bowlers have come good in the Powerplay and death overs. Mohammad Shami, in particular, has been fantastic with the new ball. Not only has he contained runs, but has also chalked up important wickets. Till now, he has snapped up 16 wickets in 12 matches. Lockie Ferguson, though expensive in a couple of matches, has also bowled with gusto and skill.

The leg-spinner Rashid Khan has the second-best economy rate (6.79) in the tournament among bowlers who have taken at least 10 wickets. Titans have used Rashid in the Powerplay, during the middle overs and sometimes in the death overs as well, and he has been equally effective.

3) A string of finishers: This is undoubtedly the biggest strength of the Titans. Though the opener Shubman Gill and Pandya in the middle-order have done fairly well, the finishers such as David Miller, Rahul Tewatia and Rashid lend enormous heft and depth to the team. That means that no team can afford to be blasé at any stage against the Titans. The likes of Miller, Tewtia and Rashid have pulled off many incredible wins for the team when the chips were down. Their rollicking and highly impactful cameos have taken the wind out of opposition teams’ sails many times.

In the match against Punjab Kings, Gujarat needed 12 runs off the last two and Tewatia stepped up to bludgeon two sixes against Odean Smith to pull off a Houdini act. Similarly, against Chennai Super Kings, Gujarat needed 48 runs from the last three overs as Rashid Khan went berserk and smacked 25 runs in the 18th over off Chris Jordan. In the end, Miller remained unbeaten at 94 as Titans sealed the match in the last over with one ball remaining.

The presence of Miller, Tewatia and Rashid ensures that opposition teams are always under the cosh when Titans are chasing any target.

Sunil Gavaskar succinctly summed up Titans’ success when he said, “Gujarat are playing with such freedom and they are fearless in their approach. They are enjoying their game and playing positive cricket. There’s no fear of the world in their game and that’s why they are winning.”


Do visit www.newindian.in for exclusive video stories from hinterlands of India.