- June 2, 2023
Defending champions Gujarat Titans are currently sitting on the top of the points table in IPL 2023 after defeating the Kolkata Knight Riders by seven wickets. In a high-scoring game at the Eden Garden Stadium, Knight Riders posted a total of 179 runs with some hard-hitting from Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Andre Russell. While the contest looked evenly poised halfway through the chase, the Titans finished the game a couple of overs in advance.
It was the sixth victory for the Hardik Pandya-led franchise out of eight games and they look well on course to the playoffs. The ease and consistency with which Gujarat Titans have been chasing down the totals have grabbed the eyeballs. Are they the best chasing side in IPL this season? Let’s find out.
Numbers Do Not Lie
It was the fourth successful chase for Gujarat Titans this season and they haven’t lost a single game batting second. Since the last edition, Gujarat has only lost one out of thirteen games while chasing. To put this into perspective, all the other teams have lost at least a couple of games each in the ongoing season. Chasing has been generally difficult this season with the side batting second winning only 16 of the 40 games so far, making it a 40% probability altogether. However, Gujarat Titans maintain a perfect 100% chasing streak, such has been the dominance.
It is expected that the T-20 games favor the chasing side because of the high-paced nature of the format. A couple of years back when IPL was being played in UAE due to the covid situation in India, tosses played such an important role that the teams batting second won in almost 70% of the games. However, in subcontinent conditions, pitches do get slower as the game progresses bringing the spinners into the picture. Apart from Gujarat Titans, all the other teams have struggled with this factor. Teams do expect the dew factor to play a crucial role in the second innings of the evening matches, but the role of dew has been negligible in IPL 2023 so far.
What Works Well for the Best Chasing Side Titans?
Before the start of the last IPL, no one gave the Titans a chance of winning the title. They weren’t the strongest team on paper. But, Gujarat Titans is a team where every player has a clarity of their role and they contribute accordingly. So, a vital reason behind the successful journey of the Titans is that they don’t rely on the individual brilliance of a couple of players, but rather it is a team effort.
Under the guidance of fast bowler Aashish Nehra and World Cup winning coach Gary Kirsten, Gujarat Titans follow a certain batting template while batting second. A key to this template is the solid start they generally get at the top. Very rarely do Titans find themselves in a situation where the top order just collapses. With Wriddhiman Saha and Shubman Gill opening the innings, they focus on not losing the wicket and punishing the bad deliveries in the powerplay, playing mostly risk-free shots. Saha’s role is that of an aggressor while Gill anchors the innings throughout. Skipper Hardik Pandya promotes himself up the batting order to ensure stability in the middle overs alongside Sai Sudarshan and Vijay Shankar who play the spinners well.
Titans ensure that they lose only 3-4 wickets by 15 overs for a late flurry at the business end of the innings while maintaining the run rate steady at 8-9 runs per over. In the lower middle order, the likes of David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, and Abhinav Manohar accelerate according to the required run rate and take the team home. All these names are not T20 superstars but they all stick to their roles and don’t try many fancy things, thereby making Gujarat Titans the best chasing side this season.