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IPL Qualifier 2: Upbeat MI to take on defending champs Gujarat Titans
Match starts at 7:30pm
Ahmedabad: Akash Madhwal's breathtaking bowling performance against Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator would have given five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians wings and they would be fancying their chances against defending champions Gujarat Titans in Qualifier 2 to be played in the world's largest stadium here on Friday.
Mumbai Indians, riding on magical figures of five for five produced by Madhwal at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday night, knocked out LSG from the race to the final with an 81-run win.
The massive MI victory was a warning to the rivals that they could lift their game according to the occasion even in the absence of star pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Jofra Archer and batting mainstay Tilak Varma. MI pride themselves on thriving when the odds are stacked against them, something they have done throughout the season.
Having finished last in the previous edition, Rohit Sharma's team has ground it out this season to remain in contention for a sixth IPL title even with limited resources. The likes of Cameron Green, Suryakumar Yadav and Tim David have responded well to the challenges and now form the backbone of the batting department with the young Nehal Wadhera too making a huge impact, and the opening pair of Rohit and Ishan Kishan doing a fair job. It will be a stern test for the Titans' bowling attack, led by Mohammad Shami (26 wickets in 15 matches), to get the better of MI's batting, which has improved drastically towards the business end of the tournament.
Madhwal has been a revelation with the ball. The right-arm bowler returned a dream spell of 3.5-0-5-5 against LSG to put his side into the virtual semifinal after a three-wicket burst that set up victory in their crucial last league game against Sunrisers Hyderabad. Veterans Piyush Chawla (21 wickets in 15 matches) and Jason Behrendorff (14 wickets in 11 matches) have also been impressive, while an otherwise expensive Chris Jordan also enjoyed a fine outing of 2-1-7-1 in the Eliminator.
Gujarat Titans, outclassed and outgunned in Qualifier 1 by Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings, will have one last chance to gather themselves up and put their best foot forward in familiar conditions here in order to qualify for their second IPL final on the trot.
Gujarat Titans: Hardik Pandya (c), Shubman Gill, David Miller, Abhinav Manohar, Sai Sudharsan, Wriddhiman Saha, Matthew Wade, Rashid Khan, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Mohammed Shami, Alzarri Joseph, Yash Dayal, Pradeep Sangwan, Darshan Nalkande, Jayant Yadav, R. Sai Kishore, Noor Ahmad, Dasun Shanaka, Odean Smith, KS Bharat, Shivam Mavi, Urvil Patel, Joshua Little and Mohit Sharma.
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (c), Chris Jordan, Arshad Khan, Jason Behrendorff, Dewald Brevis, Piyush Chawla, Tim David, Raghav Goyal, Cameron Green, Ishan Kishan (wk), Duan Jansen, Chris Jordan, Kumar Kartikeya, Akash Madhwal, Riley Meredith, Shams Mulani, Ramandeep Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Hrithik Shokeen, Tristan Stubbs, Arjun Tendulkar, Tilak Varma, Vishnu Vinod, Nehal Wadhera, Suryakumar Yadav.