On paper, Gujarat Titans did not really look like a team. They had superstars. But it also felt like they had holes. Notably, a batting order that falls over a cliff after Hardik Pandya at No. 4. It is the reason why when he fell in the last over of a thrilling chase against Punjab Kings, he spent the first few seconds arguing with David Miller for running him out and the next several slumped over a desk in the dug-out.
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The highest run-getter in the last IPL now has the lowest average among all batters to have played a minimum of five innings. Can Ruturaj Gaikwad turn his form around?
Titans have top-order worries of their own. Matthew Wade is right behind Gaikwad on the worst averages list with 13.6. And their No. 3s (Sai Sudharsan and Vijay Shankar) have the worst strike rate (90.27) for that position in this IPL.
Gujarat Titans: 1 Shubman Gill, 2 Rahmanullah Gurbaz/ Matthew Wade (wk), 3 B Sai Sudharsan, 4 Hardik Pandya (capt), 5 Abhinav Manohar, 6 David Miller, 7 Rahul Tewatia, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Lockie Ferguson, 11 Yash Dayal
Chennai Super Kings: 1 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 2 Robin Uthappa, 3 Moeen Ali, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 Shivam Dube, 6 MS Dhoni (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja (capt), 8 Dwayne Bravo, 9 Chris Jordan, 10 Maheesh Theekshana, 11 Mukesh Choudhary
Robin Uthappa has the third-highest average (41.5), the second-highest strike rate (169) and the second-best balls-per-boundary frequency (3.9) among all the openers with at least 100 runs in this IPL. But there’s one area where he’s been less than awesome this season. Facing legspin. Rashid Khan, who happens to be on 99 IPL wickets, will relish going up against someone who is averaging 4 and been dismissed thrice by his style of bowling.
In ten IPL innings when he has come in before the eighth over, he averages 41.1 and strikes at 143. In 17 IPL innings when he has come in after the eighth over, he averages 19.8 and strikes at 127.
Super Kings, largely because of Deepak Chahar’s absence, are on the other end of the spectrum: five wickets (second-worst) at an average of 49.8 (second-worst) and a strike rate of 36 (joint second-worst).