Statistically, there is little to differentiate between the Gujarat Titans and the Chennai Super Kings. However, GT find themselves virtually out of contention for a playoffs berth, barring an improbable numerical miracle. Therefore, when the teams clash at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Thursday, the pressure will be on the visitors. For them, a win is more of a necessity than for the home side in terms of competitive context. With 12 points from 11 games, they need at least two wins from the remaining three games.

Achieving a win against the Titans will not be easy, despite CSK’s recent dominance over the Gujarat side. CSK have won their last three encounters, including this year’s season-opener and last year’s final. However, with nothing to lose, the Titans can be a dangerous side, especially with skipper Shubman Gill on a mission to prove a point or two over his captaincy. Besides, the Super Kings are depleted, with key bowlers Matheesha Pathirana and Mustafizur Rahman unavailable for different reasons. Both, in fact, have left the camp.

Chennai will largely depend on domestic bowlers such as Tushar Deshpande, Simarjit Singh, Shardul Thakur, and Ravindra Jadeja, besides Mitchll Santner, Moeen Ali, and Richard Gleeson. While they had a fairly easy run against Punjab Kings at Dharamsala, facing the Titans at home, could present a different challenge. This is something that batting coach and mentor Gary Kirsten promised the Titans would be prepared for in their next three games.

“Hopefully (we) have a good last three games. I think it’s been one of those seasons where we haven’t quite got it going. So after two really good years, to finish on a high note I think would be really important. So I think try and take it one game at a time, see if we can play a really good game of cricket tomorrow. The most important thing for us is playing to the level that we know we are capable of. If we can do that, we give ourselves a good chance of winning a game of cricket,” the South African, who will be leaving the franchise to take over as the coach of Pakistan team, said.

A depleted bowling attack apart, CSK have not exactly managed a good start with the bat. Skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad has been impressive but not the other top order batters – Ajinkya Rahane, in particular. But Fleming said one should not expect the sort of starts that Sunrisers Hyderabad from Chennai Super Kings and they will also not adopt that style of full throttle attack.

Lack of impetus (at the top) and based on what you saw from Sunrises last night? So we are not as risky as other teams, but we’re still getting scores that are similar. I know there’s a lot of interest in that. We’re not all going to play the same way and with the players that we’ve got, we think we can do it a different way. We’re not going to conform to that just because… It is great to watch and it’s tough on the bowlers, but we’ve got a style of play that we’re happy with and we’re in the mix, so we’ll just cement it. That’s our style,” the New Zealander said.

When: Gujarat Titans vs Chennai Super Kings, IPL 2024, May 10, 19:30 IST

Where: Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad

What to expect: A high-scoring game with the captain winning the toss opting to field first has been the trend. The pitch may be a little worn out but it still looks full of runs.

Head to Head: GT 3 – 3 CSK.

Team Watch:

Gujarat Titans

Injury/Unavailability:No injury concerns for the home team.

Tactics & Matchups:Sai Sudharsan has done well against Ravindra Jadeja – CSK’s form bowler, with 32 runs in 21 balls without a dismissal. The left-hander has also taken on one of CSK’s best bowler this season Tushar Deshpande in his previous encounters against him. The TN batter could hold the aces against CSK in a must-win fixture.

Probable XI: Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Shubman Gill (c), Sai Sudharsan, David Miller, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rahul Tewatia, Shahrukh Khan, Rashid Khan, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Noor Ahmad, Mohit Sharma.

Chennai Super Kings

Injury/Unavailability: CSK have a handful of absentees with the likes of Deepak Chahar, Mustafizur Rahman and Matheesha Pathirana not available for rest of the season due to injury and national duty.

Tactics & Matchups: Shardul Thakur could add to Shubman Gill’s middling season as he comes with a favourable match-up [36 runs | 31 balls | 2 dismissals] against the GT captain.

Probable XI:Ajinkya Rahane, Ruturaj Gaikwad (c), Daryl Mitchell, Shivam Dube, Moeen Ali, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni (wk), Mitchell Santner, Shardul Thakur, Richard Gleeson, Tushar Deshpande

What They said:

“I think he’s (Shubman Gill) enjoyed the captaincy. You know, it’s something that takes time to really master, but I think he’s enjoyed it this season and he’s a world class player. So I have no doubt that in the next three games he’s going to put in one or two really good performances.” – Gary Kirsten on whether captaincy has affected Shubman Gill’s batting.

“We thought Mustafizur was going to be here longer. The BCB pulled him a little bit earlier than we’d hoped, but we’re covered for that. So that planning is in place. Some of the other injuries have been a little bit more problematic, but we’re okay. We’ve got good resources to cover it and a good group of young players that are ready to go.” – Stephen Fleming on injuries to key CSK bowlers.

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