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GT Aim to Build on Home Success with Focus on Gill’s Form

GT Aim to Build on Home Success with Focus on Gill’s Form

Gill’s Performance in Spotlight as GT Aim to Capitalize on Home Success

GT to Rely on Gill’s Batting Prowess Against PBKS

Scoring just 75 runs across three games might not be considered poor in T20 cricket, but for Shubman Gill, a batting average of 25 falls short of his lofty standards. As Gujarat Titans gear up to face Punjab Kings in their fourth match of the season, all eyes will be on their newly appointed captain. The question looming large: is the burden of captaincy affecting Gill’s performance?

“He is batting superbly,” stated Mohit Sharma, the Titans’ paceman, coming to the defense of his captain. “Yes, it is a fact that the stats have not been converted into big ones, but he looks in superb rhythm. He is batting very well at the nets. A big knock from him not too far away.” Gill’s contributions in the three matches so far have been 31, 8, and 36 runs, but greater numbers are certainly expected from him.

The challenge for Gill lies in the relentless scrutiny he faces, particularly from Gujarat’s passionate fans who are accustomed to the team’s high standards. With two finals appearances and one title in the first two years, their success rate is exemplary. This season, especially with the mega auction looming next year, presents a big test for the 24-year-old Indian batting sensation.

With Gary Kirsten (batting coach and mentor) and Ashish Nehra (head coach) among the highly-organized support staff, Gill has the right environment and set-up to grow as a cricketer. “We as a franchise, as a support staff, are really excited to help him grow as a person more than as a captain. If he grows as a person, then he will definitely be a better captain going forward,” Nehra had said before the start of the season. Gill endorsed his coach’s advice. “No one is perfect. There is a lot to learn,” he had said.

A big knock from the captain is certainly around the corner. If he gets one, it could spell trouble for Punjab, incidentally, Gill’s home state. With Sai Sudarshan and David Miller in good form, and Rahul Tewatia to follow, batting is not a worry. Bowling, of course, is never a concern for the Titans, with Mohit, Rashid Khan, and Noor Ahmed taking care of 12 overs. Azmatullah Omarzai has managed to keep the highly talented Josh Little out of the XI, and Umesh Yadav’s experience is always handy for any side. The Titans side looks in sync.

GT Eye Continued Success at Home

The same, though, cannot be said of Punjab, who went off track after winning their first game of the season (vs Delhi Capitals). As their bowling coach Trevor Gonsalves said, their problem has been losing wickets in a cluster. Besides, the Shikhar Dhawan side needs to sort out their bowling strategy. Arshdeep Singh was not given his quota of four overs in the previous game in which Krunal Pandya took the game away from them with a blistering knock. Harshal Patel and Rahul Chahar have not been as effective this season.

T20 can produce unexpected results but if Punjab Kings manage to beat the Titans at the Narendra Modi Stadium here in Ahmedabad, it will be a real upset.

When: Gujarat Titans vs Punjab Kings, IPL 2024, April 4, 19:30 IST

Where: Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad

What to expect: Toss may not be such a big factor as the pitch looks full of runs. The dew, though, will be a big factor and it may not be a surprise if the captain winning the toss chooses to bat.

Head to head: GT 2 – 1 PBKS. The last outing between the sides was won by the Titans in Mohali last season.

Team watch

Gujarat Titans

Injuries/availability: The hosts have no injury worries as such although, as Mohit Sharma said, most players could be carrying niggles.

Probable XI: Shubman Gill (C), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Sai Sudharsan, Azmatullah Omarzai, David Miller, Vijay Shankar, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Noor Ahmed, Umesh Yadav, Darshan Nalkande [Impact sub: Sai for Mohit Sharma if they bat first, or vice-versa]

Punjab Kings

Injuries/availability: Liam Livingstone could miss the game due to a hamstring injury. The rest of the squad is free of fitness concerns

Probable XI: Shikhar Dhawan (C), Jonny Bairstow, Prabhsimran Singh, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Shashank Singh, Harshal Patel, Harpreet Brar, Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Chahar [Impact sub: Arshdeep Singh for Prabhsimran if they bat first, or vice-versa]

Did you know?

  • Gill has an exceptional record against PBKS, hitting five 50s in ten innings.
  • Umesh Yadav has won six POTM awards against Punjab Kings – the most by a player against an opponent in the IPL.
  • From being a new ball specialist during his peak years with CSK be 2013 and 2015, Mohit Sharma has become a death overs expert for Titans since his comeback last year. In the 2013-15 period, he bowled 51.4% of his overs in the Powerplay while for Titans 46.6% of his overs have come in the death overs.

What they said:

“It is all about preparation and it is up to the team’s needs. The team suggests your role. Earlier I used to bowl with the new ball. Since last year, I have been asked to bowl with the old ball. I keep searching for options on how I can contribute to the team’s success. Whether I concede 70 or take 4/40, it all depends on preparation,” – Mohit Sharma, GT bowler

“Not really concerned (about bowlers leaking runs). They are top-class players, whether it is Harshal Patel or Rahul Chahar. They have gone through a lot of situations where they have been hit. They will come back very strongly.” – Trevor Gonsalves, PBKS’ assistant bowling coach

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