For all the criticism around their auction picks, Titans make a fairy-tale entry into IPL playoffs

by IANS |

Pune, May 11 (IANS) It has been a fairy-tale entry into the IPL 2022 playoffs for newcomers Gujarat Titans, who were not given much of a chance by the critics following the mega auction in February this year.

The Hardik Pandya-led Titans qualified with two league games remaining, thrashing Lucknow Super Giants by a massive 62 runs in what was one of the most commanding displays this season while defending a meagre total.

Defending just 144, built largely due to the efforts of young Shubman Gill's unbeaten 63, the Titans' self-belief was the key as they restricted their opponents to just 82, with spinner Rashid Khan accounting for four wickets and the likes of Yash Dayal and Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore taking two wickets each.

Gill conceded that not many people had given the side much of a chance coming into the season.

"It feels great. Coming into the season, not many people gave us much of a chance. Not many people thought we'd qualify. But here we are, sitting on top of the table. It feels pretty great," said Gill, the Player of the Match.

The team that's made it a habit to come back from the death, is now set to get two chances to qualify for the IPL 2022 final on debut.

After the IPL mega auctions, people pointed at the Titans' batting. While the bowling looked pretty sorted, the batting looked weak, with David Miller's relative lack of runs in the past few IPLs and Gill's patchy form a concern.

Also Rahul Tewatia too hadn't done much of note since his impact innings in Sharjah some seasons back. People hadn't seen skipper Hardik Pandya play till he arrived in the tournament with an elevated batting position and rejuvenated bowling.

"To be totally honest, when we walked away from the auction, we didn't at all think we have a weak batting line-up, in the slightest," team director Vikram Solanki said after the Titans' big win over LSG.

"Once we walked away from the auction, we were pretty pleased with the work we did. A lot has been made about our line-up, and I'm fine with that. People are absolutely entitled to their opinion. But I can assure you, at no stage did we think we had a weakened or a weak batting line-up."

The Titans knew what they were doing when they signed Pandya, spinner Rashid Khan and Gill -- a potent nucleus around which the team could revolve. The team then tapped into the potential of young, relatively untested players to bring out the best in them.

Add to that, Pandya's captaincy has been the understated factor. Even while defending just 144, the boys never lost sight of victory, meticulously working to push LSG into a corner and score a massive win.

"Really, really proud of the boys," Pandya said after the game. "When we started this journey together, I don't think... we obviously believed in our team, we believed in ourselves, but before the 14th game comes we have qualified -- it's a great effort and really proud of us."

Latest News
Quad is constructive, not to create any debt burden: India Sun, May 22, 2022, 06:00 PM
KCR, Kejriwal discuss national politics at luncheon meeting Sun, May 22, 2022, 05:54 PM
Thomas Cup win will fill India's youth with new enthusiasm and energy: PM Modi Sun, May 22, 2022, 05:42 PM
India take on arch-rivals Pakistan in Asia Cup hockey opener Sun, May 22, 2022, 05:38 PM
Virat Kohli, du Plessis react after MI's win over DC helps RCB to qualify for playoffs Sun, May 22, 2022, 05:34 PM
Israel reports 1st suspected case of monkeypox Sat, May 21, 2022, 02:01 PM
African countries report 7,985 newly confirmed Covid-19 cases as tally nears 11.59 mn Sat, May 21, 2022, 01:40 PM
Mexico's Prez urges US to legalise status of Mexican immigrants Sat, May 21, 2022, 01:27 PM
Moeen Ali's master-class has Matthew Hayden in awe Sat, May 21, 2022, 01:24 PM
Why 'no fear' and a 'fresh slate' make two new IPL franchises a force to reckon with Sat, May 21, 2022, 01:12 PM
PDP chief pays tributes to Mirwaiz, Lone Sat, May 21, 2022, 12:54 PM
Open Mettur Dam before June 12: PMK's Ramadoss Sat, May 21, 2022, 12:54 PM
Overnight sporadic rain bring relief in Delhi Sat, May 21, 2022, 12:53 PM
Rescue operations resume at collapsed J&K highway tunnel Sat, May 21, 2022, 12:41 PM
India reports 2,323 fresh Covid cases, 25 deaths Sat, May 21, 2022, 12:40 PM