IPL 2024: Lack of genuine pacer, and inaccurate team selection hurt Gujarat Titans with huge defeat

Gujarat Titans lost a league match against CSK for the first time.

Gujarat Titans
Image Credits: BCCI

Gujarat Titans (GT) began their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 campaign with a last-over nervy six-run victory over Mumbai Indians (MI). However, their 63-run defeat in the hands of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in their second outing damaged their net run rate heavily. 

Gujrat captain Subman Gill invited the Super Kings to bat first on a flat MA Chidambaram surface in Chennai. When opener Rachin Ravindra and number four batter Shivam Dube were smashing both their pacers and spinners, the Titans hardly had any solution. The target of 207 was always to be a tough ask. 

A poor start of losing Gill early in the chase hurt them. Sai Sudharsan was holing one end, but in such a huge chase, his ultimate 37-run knock in 31 balls was helping the opponents. The IPL 2022 champions kept on losing wickets at regular intervals and could push them to 143/8. 

Let’s take a look at what areas Gujarat Titans could look for improvement 

The importance of playing Shahrukh Khan

It was a surprise in their first game, and it continued to drop bombshells even in the second encounter. The Titans signed hard-hitting batter Sharukh Khan for a whopping INR 7.40 crore after an intense bidding war with the Punjab Kings (PBKS). All his potential job was to come at number five or six and aim those big boundaries. 

There will be hardly any franchise where the Tamil Nadu batter would spend time on the benches. In the last season with Punjab, Sharukh nailed 156 runs at a strike rate of 165.96. 

Gujrat needs to find a way to put him in the playing eleven. They could drop either Sudharsan or Vijay Shankar, who isn’t bowling too. Otherwise, they could change the formation of their side, but they have to find a way to add Sharukh to the mix. The modern T20 game doesn’t allow even one player to knock the balls around, and the impact of the 28-year-old will bring different results in the lower order for the Titans. 

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Josh Little & Sandeep Warrier need to get picked 

Even though Azmatullah Omarzai created chances with the new ball, he has gone for runs in the powerplay. Umesh Yadav too from the other end has leaked quite a few runs with the new ball. Sandeep Warrier could be a better option in the place. The Tamil Nadu bowler has picked up 63 T20 wickets at an economy of 7.16 in 72 innings. 

With both Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore and Rashid Khan taking charge of the middle overs, the Titans look for options at the start and the back end of the innings. Spencer Johnson has gone for runs in both the two games. The opponent batters have read his line and length early to smack him for the big shots. Josh Little, who played for GT in the last season, could be an option in his place. In conditions where there is spin on offer, the management may look to have Noor Ahmed in the side. 

With Mohammad Shami’s injury, the whole planning of the side has received a strong setback. But new team formations are vital to stay alive in this tournament. 

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Flexibility in batting order & better performance from the veterans

In the last season, the runners-up made several mistakes, but somehow their players used to bring a rabbit out of the hat. Things haven’t been easy for them at the start of this season. Gujrat needs to be more flexible in their batting order. 

The moment David Miller got out in the game against CSK, the required run rate was already over 13. The better option would have been Rahul Tewatia, who has been prepared for these sorts of situations. 

The experienced players need to step up in the crisis. Rashid Khan, the leading bowler of the pack, needs to take wickets at a better economy. Gill just had two successive failures with scores of 31 and 8. As a captain, and the ‘Orange Cap’ winner of the last season, the 24-year-old needs to take responsibility and play big match-winning knocks. 

GT will be in action again on March 31 against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at their home Narendra Modi Stadium. 

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