After a gruelling league stage of IPL 2022 in Mumbai, where 10 teams competed for the right to be the champions in the hot and arduous clones of Mumbai, the IPL carnival moves to Kolkata, with only four teams standing. The Gujarat Titans take on the Rajasthan Royals in the first qualifiers, as the newcomers take on the well-established veterans of the league.
It is the battle of the two most consistent teams in this edition of the tournament and should produce some great live cricket. Both teams match evenly against each other in all departments. With both teams approaching this contest at the peak of their powers, who will book their place in the final, and which team drops to the second qualifier? Let the playoffs begin.
The Titans had a very comfortable group stage, in which they managed to stay at the top of the table for almost the entire league stage. Their squad has been one of the most consistent in terms of performance and effort. Every ga,e saw a new hero, instead of contributions from the usual suspects. Hardik Pandya as captain has been a breath of fresh air, while the coaching staff led by Nehra has been a revelation. They come into the playoffs with a loss in their last game against the Royal Challengers, but they will not be too worried about it, as they did pretty well in the game.
They will have to ensure that they keep the Rajasthan batsmen in check, with the onus falling on the likes of Rashid and Lockie Ferguson to make that happen. They will need a big performance with the bat from Shubman Gill, who has once again not had the type of impact he was expected to make this season. All in all, they are a pretty settled side and will try to play the same way that has served them so well throughout the tournament.
The pre-tournament favourites have justified their tag and have made the playoffs on the back of some scintillating performances from all the members of the side. if it was the Buttler and the Chahal show in the first half of the season, the second half saw the likes of R Ashwin, Padikkal, Boult, and Hetmyer take center stage. The team enters the playoffs with some questions to answer though.
Jos Buttler’s form in the last 5 games has tampered off massively, with the opener beginning to look a shadow of his former swashbuckling self. The productivity of Chahal has also steadily declined, with him not being able to take a lot of wickets. Till now it was not an issue on account of the league stage, but in the playoffs, where the games can be determined by the tightest of margins, the Royals cannot afford a slip-up that costs them the game and the tournament at this juncture.
Both teams faced each other for the first time this season, with the Titans enjoying a comfortable 37-run victory over the Royals.
Both teams enter the playoffs in high spirits. While Rajasthan will definitely be considered the favourites, this game is too close to call considering the Titans have been the form team this tournament. But playing in the playoffs for the first time could be a little too daunting for many of those Gujarat squad members, hence the Royals will be favourites going into this one.
Date and Time
24th May 2022 (Tuesday) at 7:30 pm
Eden Gardens, Kolkata