Gujarat Titans v Rajasthan Royals
I know, I know what you’re thinking. He got the Titans badly wrong last week and so how can we trust him to assess their capabilities going into the play-offs?!
Well, on reflection (isn’t life SO easy with hindsight?) it looked like a match in which Gujarat were not at full throttle because they were waiting for this part of the competition, having already earned the right to join the dance. I’m still backing them.
Yes, that can be a dangerous call because most teams would ideally like to go into this stage with some momentum. However, the Titans have had largely unbroken momentum throughout and I think they clearly know their strengths and play to them.
They go into this fixture from the top of the table and they’ll play second-placed Rajasthan Royals, who have one win less than them from the regular rounds but will turn up at Eden Gardens on the back of wins in their two most recent outings.
The prize for winning this match is a direct route through to next Sunday’s final in Ahmedabad but the losers will get a second bite at the cherry.
They’ll travel to Ahmedabad on Friday to play the winners of Tuesday’s elimination playoff between Lucknow Super Giants and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
So now we’ve established all that, why will the Titans progress? For what it’s worth, I think their overall consistency and the fact that they enjoyed a comfortable 37-run win when the teams met on April 14, that will stand them in good stead on Tuesday.
87 in 52 balls by Hardik Pandya was the root cause of that previous win but do not underestimate the contributions of Abhinav Manohar’s 43 in 28 deliveries, or a quickfire 31 not out in 14 by David Miller.
Rajasthan will not have forgotten how dangerous that trio and more of the Gujarat squad is and it will be fascinating to see who they try to match up with them in order to get a better result.
The Royals will, as ever, look to the amazing Joss Buttler to produce another monumental knock for them. His 54 in 24 balls in the previous match between these two was another magnificent effort but ultimately he received nowhere near enough support. If he fails, then his team could be in trouble and I am going to gamble that the leaders can claim his wicket early enough to limit his potential damage.
So, to recap, I’m with the Titans to win this and go straight to the final. The bookies agree and make them 4/5 to do so, which I’ll be taking.
I’m with the in-form Pandya to be their top batter and I have to say the 4/1 about that with bet365 looks tasty. I’d also be with him for Player of the Match at 17/2, should he back up my theory and score big runs.
On the bowling front I’m a huge Rashid Khan fan and would always want him on my side in a bet for the best Titans bowler. He’s joint favourite at 11/4 with bet365 to claim that honour and that is also recommended.
As ever, the best of luck.