The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 has been a witness to some thrilling encounters thus far. Defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT) and MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK) locked horns in the opening game at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Since then, quite a few humdingers have taken place.
SRH choked in the final over against KKR.
It was a crucial game for both KKR and SRH to stay in contention for the playoffs. But the visitors, Kolkata Knight Riders, managed to secure a nail-biting victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad, despite not playing their best game. The win was KKR's fourth of the season, and they were able to come back from behind, thanks to the contributions of various players throughout the match. The defeat marked the sixth loss of the season for Sunrisers Hyderabad, who were playing at home in Hyderabad.
Kolkata Knight Riders opted to bat first but lost their opening batsman Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Venkatesh Iyer early on in the innings as Marco Jansen claimed both wickets. Jansen continued to trouble the KKR batsmen with his accurate bowling, but Kartik Tyagi also dismissed Jason Roy thanks to an edge to short third.
Rinku Singh, Nitish Rana, and Andre Russell were responsible for stabilizing KKR's innings after the early damage. Rinku was the first to find his rhythm, while Rana struggled a bit to time the ball on a pitch that was holding up. Although Markram removed Rana soon after, Russell quickly took charge by hitting the offspinner for a straight six. Russell's arrival at the crease pushed Rinku's innings to the background, and his quickfire 24 off 15 balls took KKR to a commanding 127 for 4 by the end of the 14th over.
In the remaining overs of KKR's innings, they failed to maintain the same momentum as earlier and lost wickets at regular intervals. Russell, who had powered them to a strong position, was dismissed in the 15th over by Mayank Markande when he tried to hit a wide delivery for a big shot and ended up top-edging it to a backward point. The rest of the KKR batsmen also struggled to score freely, and wickets continued to fall at crucial junctures. T Natarajan was particularly impressive in the death overs, conceding only 11 runs in his last two overs and picking up the wickets of Shivam Mavi and Lockie Ferguson to restrict KKR to 171 for 9.
We believed. We fought. We won. pic.twitter.com/NKyEkiR0sg
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) May 4, 2023
Chasing 172, Abhishek Sharma started off with a boundary by chipping the first ball over the infield on the offside, and Mayank Agarwal followed suit soon after. KKR's new-ball pair of Harshit Rana and Vaibhav Arora made some errors, allowing the openers to score 29 runs in just 2.5 overs before Mayank fell to Rana's pace and bounced, gloving one to the ‘keeper. SRH were in trouble after the powerplay as Anukul Roy dismissed Harry Brook for a fourth-ball duck and had them reduced to 54 for 4.
Markram and Klaasen, the South African pair, constructed a crucial 70-run partnership in just 7.5 overs, with the need for a solid partnership becoming increasingly urgent. Klaasen seemed comfortable on the tricky surface while Markram struggled to find his rhythm. Following a sluggish start, Klaasen broke the shackles with two sixes off Anukul in the 11th over. Markram then found his groove, hitting two boundaries off Chakravarthy in the 13th over.
SRH were in a good position, requiring 48 runs from 35 balls but lost Markram's wicket a couple of overs later, reducing the target to 27 runs from 19 balls with Abdul Samad and Marco Jansen at the crease. However, Jansen's innings was cut short by a superb catch from Gurbaz, and despite a boundary from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, SRH could only manage three runs in the last over against Chakravarthy, who had to bowl with a wet ball.
Only Henrich Klassen figured out the KKR spin attack by hitting at a strike rate of 192.86, whereas other SRH batters scored at a strike rate of 85. They now have 4 wins from 10 games and will need to win the rest of the 4 to make it to the playoffs. On the other hand, SRH lost their fourth game out of 5 while chasing.
A rematch between last IPL’s finalists GT and RR.
Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Gujarat Titans (GT) will play the 48th game of the IPL at Jaipur. If Rajasthan Royals manage to defeat GT again in the upcoming match, they can claim the top spot, adding to the storyline of the most fiercely contested season of IPL yet. However, it's important to note that a victory for RR will only result in a two-point lead over Punjab Kings at sixth place, highlighting the narrow margins in the current standings.
Friday's match between RR and GT is further spiced up by the fact that both teams have well-built squads and have started this season seamlessly, with RR having won four out of their first five games and GT having won three out of their first five. However, both teams have also shown some weaknesses that they can exploit against each other in Jaipur. RR tends to slow down in the middle overs, which GT can take advantage of with the spin of Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmed. On the other hand, GT has individual issues, such as Saha's decreasing effectiveness in the PowerPlay and Hardik Pandya's poor hitting form.
The venue for the upcoming match has witnessed two matches with contrasting conditions. In the first match, the surface was slow and sluggish, resulting in RR struggling to score, and LSG successfully defended 154/7 against the hosts. However, in the second match, the ball flew off the deck and off the bat, with Yashasvi Jaiswal smashing 77 off 43 and RR making 202/5 in a 32-run win over CSK. Both teams have had recent difficulties on slow pitches, so they will be hoping for a high-scoring pitch in the upcoming match.
During the middle overs, Chahal will be a key player for RR as they face GT, particularly when it comes to dealing with GT captain Hardik Pandya, who has been batting at number three recently. Hardik has had success against R Ashwin in the past (scoring 64 runs off 43 balls without being dismissed), but has struggled to score off Chahal (managing only 48 runs off 57 balls while being dismissed three times). On the other hand, Ashwin may prove effective against left-handed David Miller, who has a relatively low strike rate of 112.33 against him.
Stats Matter: GT’s Mohammed Shami is the purple cap holder with 17 wickets. In the two matches played at Jaipur, spinners have found great success, claiming 9 wickets in 33 overs at a strike rate of 22 and an economy rate of 7.72. On the other hand, pacers have managed to pick up 11 wickets in 47 overs, with a strike rate of 25.63 and an economy rate of 8.47.
𝑪𝒂𝒏 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒇𝒆𝒆𝒍 𝒊𝒕? ❤️🔥 pic.twitter.com/KJtsctA0i9
— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) May 3, 2023
The defending champions Gujarat Titans back on the top
IPL 2023 Points Table:
– GT with 12 Points.
– CSK and LSG with 11 Points.
– RR, MI, RCB and PBKS with 10 Points.
– KKR, SRH and DC with 6 Points.
– What a competition! pic.twitter.com/BLnE5403g1
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) May 3, 2023
Gujarat Titans reclaimed their number one position by beating Kolkata Knight Riders by 7 wickets. It was the third consecutive win for Gujarat Titans. It’s been something strong with GT and the chases. 4 out of 6 wins have come in chases for GT.
GT is one of the rare teams who are making good use of the impact player. Shubhman Gill is GT’s leading run scorer with 339 runs at a strike rate of 140.66.
Mohammed Shami took 4 wickets in the last game of GT. He now holds the purple cap with 17 wickets in 9 games, averaging 14.53.
Here’s the updated points table for IPL 2023:
|Lucknow Super Giants||10||5||4||0||1||11||0.639|
|Chennai Super Kings||10||5||4||0||1||11||0.329|
|Royal Challengers Bangalore||9||5||4||0||0||10||-0.030|
|Kolkata Knight Riders||10||4||6||0||0||8||-0.103|