The stage is set for the big-ticket finale of the 2022 season of Indian Premier League where Hardik Pandya’s Gujarat Titans will lock horns against Rajasthan Royals at Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday. The two teams have played dominant cricket throughout this season to overcome the big hurdles on their road to the finale. They entered the playoffs stage after finishing the league stage as the top 2 sides where Gujarat stood tall at number 1.
Ahead of the summit clash, several former cricketers picked their favourites to become the new champions of Indian Premier League. Shoaib Akhtar and Harbhajan Singh chose Gujarat Titans as they feel the IPL debutants will lift the trophy on their first attempt itself.
While former CSK batter and four-time IPL winner Suresh Raina also feels that Gujarat Titans have a slight edge over their opponents in the mega clash.
“I think Gujarat Titans will have a slight edge over Rajasthan Royals in the finals because they’ve had a good rest of four-five days and also due to the tempo they’ve been in this season,” he said on Cricket Live on Star Sports.
The southpaw further feels that the Royals cannot be taken lightly looking at the form of Jos Buttler who has scored over 800 runs this season which includes four centuries.
“I believe RR cannot be taken lightly because they are looking in sublime form and if Jos Buttler fires for one last time in this season, then it will be a huge bonus for the team. So, it will be an epic clash. Also, the wicket has been brilliant here in Ahmedabad and we’ve seen a lot of strokes from the batters,” Raina added.
While former South Africa captain Graeme Smith suggested that the Rajasthan will enter the game with an added advantage of playing on the surface in the previous clash.
“I think the advantage Rajasthan Royals have over Gujarat Titans is that they’ve played a game on this surface. They have got used to the atmosphere, the outfield, the pitch, and the extra bounce. “But I think it’s a one-off game and (in matches like these) if someone from the big players stands to the occasion and puts up a massive performance, it gives a major boost to the side. Both these teams are laden with potential match-winners which makes the TATA IPL final most exciting,” the 41-year-old said.
Veteran Australian opener Matthew Hayden picked Gujarat Titans as the favourites as he feels that the bouncy track of Motera will assist them more.
“Their 4,5,6 have just been out of this world. But with this bouncy wicket which is very similar to Australian wicket so that could be really ominous sign for Gujarat Titans,” Hayden told Star Sports.