CSK vs GT IPL 2023 Final: Gujarat Titans hope to gatecrash MSD party

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CSK vs GT IPL 2023 Final

Gujarat Titans and CSK seem to be evenly matched going into IPL summit clash today
AHMEDABAD: There is no trophy in the annals of cricketing history that MS Dhoni has not laid his hands on. But come Sunday at the Narendra Modi Stadium, he would like to give one final push to bring home the fifth IPL title for the Chennai Super Kings.

Standing in his way are Hardik Pandya‘s Gujarat Titans, who are basking in the glory of opener Shubman Gill‘s (851 runs in 16 matches) finest season and hoping to become the first franchise to win two IPL trophies at the first time of asking.

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It is fitting that after 73 matches the curtains on this year’s IPL are being brought down by two of the most consistent teams.

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CSK vs GT IPL 2023 Final: Chennai Super Kings stand between Gujarat Titans and history

The aggressive brand of cricket that Pandya has egged his team to play is a leaf out of Dhoni’s book. When Dhoni had the full squad at his disposal, his team was invincible. But even with a depleted squad, the 41-year-old has utilized his resources to the fullest to take his team to the summit clash.

The Titans are a well-rounded batting and bowling unit, and they are up against the Super Kings, who have gone from strength to strength under Dhoni’s able leadership and guile.

IPL PLAYOFFS

So, how will Dhoni and Co. stop the marauding Gill or how will Shami and co. look to halt Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway?
TOI delves into the match-ups…
Gill vs Deepak Chahar
Chahar has shown if there is some juice in the pitch, he is a bowler to reckon with. His short ball to dismiss Gill in the first qualifier is something that will be etched in the latter’s memory. Meanwhile, Tushar Deshpande has gone for runs but has taken 21 wickets in 15 matches to be CSK’s highest wicket-taker. How the duo go about against Gill will set the early tone.

HIGHEST INDIVIDUAL SCORES

GT’s middle-order vs CSK’s spinners
Maheesh Theekshana and Ravindra Jadeja spun a web around the GT’s middle-order batters in the first qualifier. However, things are going to be different in Ahmedabad with the surface expected to remain true for batting throughout the match.

CSK openers vs GT pacers
Mohammed Shami (28 wickets), Rashid Khan (27 wickets) and Mohit Sharma (24 wickets) are the top three wicket-takers this IPL. But none have been able to stop Gaikwad (564 runs from 15 matches). In two matches against GT, the opener has made 92 and 60 and helped the team set up competitive totals.

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After the initial struggle, Conway (625 runs from 15 matches) has prospered to become a support for Gaikwad.

Rashid Khan vs CSK middle order
In Shivam Dube, a resurgent Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen Ali, CSK have a middle order which can match GT man for man. Add Dhoni to the mix. His fans might want to see him play next season, but his knees just don’t seem to be able to handle the rigours of any form of international cricket. How the CSK middle order tackle the eight overs between Rashid and Noor will be a crucial factor.

Both teams are evenly matched, with no clear favourites. Will Dhoni’s guile triumph or will Pandya, who considers Dhoni his mentor, have another IPL trophy to his credit?

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