The Chennai Super Kings and MS Dhoni have already completed their lap of honor around Chepauk and expressed their gratitude to the supporters. The 2023 campaign started with the chance that their deity of 16 years will depart after only two months. Since then, each of the club's seven home games has served as a cathartic reunion, a celebration, and just a huge show of appreciation and respect for the man who helped the team to its peak level of success over the years and made it to the enormous mural at the location.
Tuesday is the last opportunity for CSK fans to raise the roof this season as the team looks to advance quickly to what will be their 10th final appearance and finally strive to catch Mumbai Indians for the most IPL titles won.
However, the Gujarat Titans don't have time for such sentimental narratives. Even though his team was certain to participate in the first qualifier, Hardik Pandya fielded a full strength team the previous evening and emphasized the need of keeping up positive routines and momentum. When RCB was eliminated from the league stage late on Sunday night, another of India's favorite sons, Virat Kohli, sank into his chair in utter devastation. In keeping with their identity, GT adopted a ruthless strategy that has allowed them to be the only team to stay clear of the center of the points table during the whole season.
The quick turnaround between their final league game and the first qualifier also dispels any worries about possible weariness. Pandya's team has played with a shorter gap between two matches in the first week of May, playing an evening match in Jaipur on a Friday, traveling back home on a Saturday, and taking part in the afternoon match on a Sunday. They not only showed up, but they also triumphed in that match. The fact that even they are unsure of the conditions to expect, but Pandya's team has been excellent on the road with 6 away victories, negates any imagined advantage for CSK of playing at a place where GT haven't this season.
Thus, the high-stakes game will depend on precise match-ups and even more precise margins between two teams that have demonstrated similar tendencies to extract every last bit of potential from the teams at their disposal.
When: Chennai Super Kings vs Gujarat Titans, May 22, 2023 at 07:30 PM IST
Where: MA Chidambaram stadium, Chennai
What to expect: An evening with highs in the 30s is expected to be warm. Early on, the venue's conditions were favorable for batsmen, but as the competition has gone on, the wickets have become slower. The average first innings total decreased from 182 in the first four games to 150 in the last three, which was mirrored in the scores recorded at the site. In their most recent match versus KKR, CSK themselves were defeated.
However, Tuesday's game will take place on pitch #5, where CSK and PBKS recently engaged in a high-scoring entertaining match in which the home team's 200/4 total was overtaken on the final ball.
Head-to-head: 3-0 to GT. Three games (In 2022 and 2023), three venues (Pune, Mumbai and Ahmedabad), three successful run-chases for Hardik Pandya's side.
Did you know:
- Gujarat Titans have scored 639 runs in the final overs this season, which is third-best, while losing the fewest wickets overall (23). Additionally, they have the second-best total of sixes during this time .
- This season, Shivam Dube has a remarkable strike rate of 175.93 against spin. Interestingly, he has only hit three fours but twenty sixes against them.
- Gujarat Titans have taken 24 wickets in the PowerPlay this season, with 15 of those being taken by Shami, while CSK have taken three wickets in each of their last five games.
What they said:
"I was skipping out on those huge ones in the early part of the IPL. I was frequently receiving 40s and 50s. Thankfully, everything is going well for me in the IPL's business end. -Shubman Gillafter scoring two consecutive hundreds
"I believe that confidence is crucial for death bowling. Tushar has improved because he can perform well under pressure and because he now has the confidence to do so. Additionally, it helps to keep playing the same opponents. Pathirana is definitely a natural at bowling at the death, but Deshpande has really improved there, so I believe the bowlers have also assumed responsibility. -MS Dhoni discussing this season's death-bowling alternatives.
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Lucknow is reached by the Pushy Chawla return trail