I want to start this with an interesting stat: No centuries were scored by Gujarat Titans batsmen, and their bowlers are yet to pick a five-for in the season. Yet they are placed at No.1 with 20 points (10 wins in 13 games so far). They have only one player each in the season’s top ten run-scorers and wicket-takers list.
The other top teams (in terms of the season’s points table), Lucknow Super Giants and Rajasthan Royals, have 5 Centuries and 1 5-Wicket Haul together. I am stating this because the success of Hardik Pandya-led GT belongs to the team rather than individual performers. They have multiple match-winners on their side, which makes them able to win momentums in most of the important phases of their games.
This article will discuss a few factors that make Gujarat Titans so successful this season.
1. Runs came from everywhere
Gujarat has 5 players who have scored more than 200 runs this season. Shubman Gill, their highest run-scorer, has scored just above 400 runs and is in the top 5 of the Orange Cap contenders list.
If you look at the 200+ run scores of GT, it comprises two openers, two middle-order batsmen, and one who bats in the lower order – Rahul Tewatia. It means the runs have come from batsmen of different positions, which has been one of the important reasons for them to be ahead of the games most of the time.
And even when all these batsmen failed, Rashid Khan won the game for them with the bat.
“As a team, we have won games we shouldn’t have won, and in this tournament, it goes a long way when you’ve won a few like that, and we’ve won about four of those. We’ve all put our hands up at different, important stages of the game, and that’s probably been the success for us this season as a team,” said David Miller, one of the top-performing middle-order batsmen of the side.
2. The best starters
The Indian spearhead Mohammed Shami has picked the most wickets for them – 18 wickets; 11 of those wickets came in the first 6 overs.
Shami’s best bowling figure of 3/25 shows he has been their constant performer; he went wicketless only twice in the 13 games he bowled.
Having a consistent bowler bowling in the powerplay overs and striking early wickets throughout the season is Gujarat’s biggest strength.
And he was well supported by Lockie Ferguson and Yash Dayal in this phase.
3. The masters of death overs
This is common for all three top teams of this year – Rajasthan Royals, Gujarat Titans, and Lucknow Super Giants – the only teams to have scored more than 500 runs in the death overs (overs 16-20) this season. RR leads this stat by 570 runs in this period, followed by LSG and GT with 533 runs each, thanks to the teams’ strong middle-order.
The ninth-placed CSK has also bundled up 487 runs in this period. However, they failed in the powerplay overs.
When you check the top five list for the runs scored in powerplay and death overs, only the Giants, Titans and Royals (the Rajasthan version) have featured in both lists – a factor that is crucial in the T20 format.
4. The winning attitude
Finally, with numbers comes confidence, and Gujarat Titans have been fortunate with the abundance of both. With Hardik Pandya, a former member of 5-times IPL champions – Mumbai Indians, at the helm, the confidence comes naturally for the Titans.
“As a person, I always make sure that I don’t like to grow just as an individual. I like to grow with my teammates or the people around me. That’s the reason for our success as well. I might be the captain, but there is no hierarchy,” Pandya said at the post-match presser after a win against RCB.
It has always been difficult for any new team coming into the tournament. But the Titans have proved it wrong this time. Of course, the mega auction before the season helped them build a stronger team with the best of all worlds. However, being a strong team is completely different from being a winning team. Gujarat Titans have been that team this year.
The Titans might not have players running for the Orange or Purple caps, but they are one of the strongest contenders to win the title this year. If they can do it, they will become the first team to win the championship in their inaugural season, except for when Shane Warne’s RR claimed the title in the inaugural year.