Tue, 03 Oct 2023

New Delhi [India], May 28 (ANI): After 73 nail-biting contests and high-adrenaline games, IPL 2023 has reached its crescendo with two finalists- Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Titans set to battle it out for the final crown.

Interestingly, it will be a repeat of the opening game of IPL 2023 where defending champions Gujarat Titans hosted four-time champions Chennai Super Kings in their backyard amid much fanfare at the iconic Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Gujarat Titans - who were a team to beat from the start of the tournament - suffered a defeat in Qualifier 1 against CSK. In Qualifier 2 GT faced a resurgent Mumbai Indians but young Shubman Gill's sublime century - third of the season - and Mohit Sharma's five-wicket haul propelled the holders to an emphatic victory.

Gill's knock of 129 off 60 balls against MI will go down as one of the best centuries in the history of the competition. Former India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar hailed the young India batter for his superlative effort in a high-pressure game.

Speaking on Star Sports Studio, Sunil Gavaskar said, "This innings of Gill will be remembered for years. In this knock, Gill forced opposition captain Rohit Sharma to change his strategy by targeting MI's main bowlers. During these matchless innings, Gill kept his strike rate consistently good and kept his team free from pressure. Along with this, this innings will also be remembered for Gill's ability to play cricketing shots in the T20 format."Former Indian cricketer, Harbhajan Singh also lauded the immensely talented youngster from Punjab for keeping his basics right and his clarity of thoughts at such a young age.

Speaking on Star Sports' Cricket Live, Harbhajan Singh said, "Shubman Gill's batting proves one thing that if your basics are right, and your thinking is clear, then runs will automatically flow out of your bat. The batting of Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill has proven that you don't need to hit oblique shots to score runs. These two are representing different generations but their bats have yielded a lot of runs and all this has been possible due to clear thinking and sticking to the basics of cricket."Former India cricketer, Irfan Pathan claimed this knock against Mumbai Indians will be remembered as one of the iconic innings in IPL Playoffs history.

Speaking on Star Sports Cricket Live, Irfan Pathan said, "Years later when you'll look back, you will remember this knock. If you look at the history of IPL qualifier matches, you will hold this knock from Gill in high regard. It was completely different from what we have witnessed in the knockout stages of IPL. The way Gill groomed this knock and the way he targeted MI's main bowlers is commendable."Former India cricketer, Mohammed Kaif claimed the IPL 2023 season came a full circle with GT facing CSK in the last game of the tournament.

Speaking on Star Sports' Cricket Live, Md Kaif said, "It has been one-all between CSK and GT this season. The IPL 2023 has come full circle as CSK and GT featured in the first match of the competition. The match was played at this very ground where GT won, and later CSK returned the favour when GT went to Chennai by defeating Gujarat by a big margin in Qualifier 1. So, the final is going to be a heavily-contested one."Former India cricketer, Harbhajan Singh stated the only thing that stands between Gujarat Titans and their second successive IPL trophy is MS Dhoni.

Speaking on Star Sports Studio, Harbhajan Singh said, "CSK is a successful team and surprisingly has played with the same team. This team has reached the finals the most number of times because each of its players believes in the ability of each of their partners. Part of the reason is that its captain believes in his teammates and is one of the most shrewd cricketing minds in the world - his name is Mahendra Singh Dhoni."Former India cricketer, Irfan Pathan opined Gujarat Titans have a very solid and well-rounded bowling attack but MS Dhoni's presence in the CSK dressing room will keep CSK in contention and the crowd being divided despite Gujarat Titans going to play on their home ground.

Speaking on Star Sports' Cricket Live, Irfan Pathan said, "Quality wise Gujarat Titans are much ahead in the bowling department than CSK. In terms of man-to-man marking, Gujarat Titans are ahead. But it will be an emotional match between CSK and GT. I am a Gujarati and will want GT to win, but my feelings are inclined towards MS Dhoni. There's still no clarity on whether he'll play next year. Because of the Dhoni factor, the heart is backing CSK." (ANI)

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