Qualifier 1, the tournament’s best bowling sides, Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals, play in Eden Gardens, Kolkata. The winner goes to the final, and the loser gets a second bite at the cherry. 

Predicted XI 

Gujarat Titans: Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha(wk), Matthew Wade, Hardik Pandya(c), David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, R Sai Kishore, Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson, Yash Dayal

Rajasthan Royals: Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson(c, wk), Devdutt Padikkal, Shimron Hetmyer, Riyan Parag, R Ashwin, Trent Boult, Obed McCoy, Yuzvendra Chahal, Prasidh Krishna

Toss and Stadium preview

With the IPL moving from Mumbai to Kolkata, Eden Gardens would be hosting its first match of the tournament. Teams batting second have generally had joy winning 61% of the matches. The average first innings score in Eden Gardens has been 155, and spinners have been more successful in terms of both economy rate and average over the years. So, expect the slow bowlers to come to the fore again. 

With a 54% chance of rain during the match, the captains would want to chase, considering the changing equations and the possibility of DLS coming into play.

Credit – Cricmetric

Pre-match opportunity:

Rajasthan Royals to hit most sixes

  • Total no of 6s by GT – 69
  • Total no of 6s by RR – 116
  • Total no of 6s conceded by GT – 90
  • Total no of 6s conceded by RR – 96

RR has the highest maximums in the IPL, 116, compared to GT’s 69, which is the lowest of all teams, with both teams conceding an average of 6 sixes per game. 

With Buttler (37 6s), Samson (21 6s), and Hetmyer (21 6s) ably supported by Padikkal and Parag, RR has more power hitters compared to GT, whose batters are more of boundary hitters.

Player Special

R Ashwin – To hit a 6 and take 1+ wicket 

We can back Ashwin to come good with the ball today, with GT having a left-hand heavy middle order of Wade, Miller, and Tewatia.

Given how good he has been with the bat this year, Ashwin should get an opportunity with the bat again. And with nine 6s to his name already, it would not surprise many if he adds another one to his tally today.

We can also back him for a couple of 4s and a wicket, which seems slightly less risky.

Predicted match flow

RR(Ov 1-6)

  • RR in powerplay this season: Runs – 656, Avg – 41, SR – 130 
  • Jos Buttler in powerplay in last 7 matches this season: Runs – 81, Avg – 16, SR – 97
  • Mohammed Shami in powerplay this season: Wickets – 11, Economy- 6.2, SR – 19

RR average 41 runs per wicket in this phase and has one of the better powerplay strike rates (130). This is mainly due to Buttler’s exploits in the first half of the tournament. In the last 7 matches, though, the Orange Cap holder has got out 5 times inside the powerplay and struck at just 97. Jaiswal has done most of the heavy lifting in the second half with an SR of 157.

GT has taken the most wickets in the powerplay with 25 and has just conceded at 7.6 RPO. Shami has accounted for 11 of them. With Dayal and Pandya providing support, GT can make early inroads into the RR batting lineup.

In-game opportunity: 

  • RR to score more than 45+ runs 
  • RR to lose 1+ wicket during the powerplay.
  • Shami to take 1+ wicket

RR(Ov 7-16)

  • Sanju Samson in overs 7 to 16 this season: Runs – 248, Avg – 24.8, SR – 145 
  • Rashid Khan in overs 7 to 16 this season: Wickets – 16, Economy – 6.6, SR – 16.8

Samson has scored at an SR of 145 during the middle overs; against leg spinners, it goes above 175. However, he would be up against the wily Rashid Khan, who has just gone at 6.6 RPO and has 16 wickets during this phase. And with R Sai Kishore, another quality spinner, operating from the other end, it could turn out to be too hot for RR’s right-handers to handle. So, they will be hoping their LHB duo of Jaiswal and Padikkal take charge instead.

Samson is likely to play with controlled aggression and wade through this phase to take on the GT pacers at the death. Yash Dayal will be his primary target.

In-game opportunity

  • Samson to score 20 + Runs 
  • Samson to hit 1+ six
  • Rashid Khan to take 1+ wicket 

RR(Ov 17-20)

  • Shimron Hetmyer in death overs this season: Runs – 214, SR – 214, Boundary% – 32
  • Gujarat Titans in death overs this season: Economy – 9.2, Wickets – 23, SR – 11.9

Hetmyer has been phenomenal at the death this year, striking at 214 and finding the boundary every 3 balls. In this fixture, however, he will have his task cut out, as he is up against the team with the best economy rate in this period.

In-game opportunity

  • Hetmyer to score 1+ 6 
  • RR to score 45+ 

Predicted score: 165-175

GT(Ov 1-6)

  • Wriddhiman Saha this season: Runs – 312, SR – 124, Dot% – 39.2
  • RR in the powerplay this season:  Wickets – 24, Economy – 7.17, Dots% – 53.9

Saha has scored 312 runs this season despite missing the first 5 matches. He has been involved in 3 50 runs and a century opening partnership with Gill and has got out only 3 times in the powerplay.

He will, however, have to deal with the tournament’s best powerplay bowling unit in this fixture. They have the tournament’s best economy rate, dot ball %, and second-highest number of wickets, thanks to the pace bowling duo of Prasidh Krishna and Trent Boult, which has been economical and got regular wickets up front.

In-game opportunity

  • GT to lose 1+ wicket
  • GT to score less than 48 runs 
  • Saha to hit 3+ 4s 

GT(Ov 7-16)

  • Hardik Pandya in overs 7 to 16 this season: Runs – 264, SR – 130, Avg – 37.7
  • Yuzvendra Chahal in overs 7 to 16 this season: Wickets – 19, SR – 13.9, Economy – 7.3

After a lean patch, Pandya found some form with a 42-ball 67 in the last match, and he would be critical against spin twins Ashwin and Chahal. The 28-year-old has not been dismissed against both bowling types this season, scoring 123 runs at an SR of 125. GT would also hope Miller, who averages 81 and strikes at 144 against spin this season, continues his fine form.

The Purple Cap holder, Chahal, would be quietly confident against the fragile GT lineup. He has picked 19 wickets at 7.3 during this period and, along with Ashwin, could cause the GT middle order a lot of trouble.

In-game opportunity

  • Pandya to score 25+ 
  • Chahal to take 1+ wicket

GT(Ov 17-20)

  • GT in death overs this season: Runs – 546, RPO – 10.1
  • RR in death overs this season: Economy – 11.3, Avg – 24.2

We expect this to be the make-or-break phase of the match. RR is the worst performing team at the death with an economy rate of 11.3, and GT strike at 189 if they bat second. Unless RR makes early inroads and puts GT under pressure, expect another tough outing during the death overs for RR.

In-game opportunity

  • GT to score more than 45+ runs
  • Miller to hit 1+ 6 

Predicted score: 160-170

Match Prediction:  RR to edge the close encounter and secure a place in the final.

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