The Titans would be grateful to vice-captain Rashid Khan and Rahul Tewatia for taking them over the line in the last match despite new pace sensation Umran Malik’s five-wicket haul. They will again look to openers Wriddhiman Saha and Shubman Gill — whose form has waned after two sublime half-centuries at the beginning of the tournament — for a brisk start.
Captain Hardik Pandya, who has slotted himself at No. 3 after the initial experiment with Vijay Shankar didn’t yield desired results, is among the tournament’s top-three run-scorers. His aggregate of 305 runs in seven matches at an average of 61 has been the cornerstone of Titans’ batting.
Despite their odd failures, the rest of the middle-and-lower order comprising David Miller, Tewatia, Abhinav Manohar and Khan have adapted to the match situation, something Pandya stressed in his post-match interaction following the last win. “Everyone is stepping up and doing justice to what they represent,” Pandya quipped on his team managing to edge tight matches.
The bowling department of Mohammad Shami, Yash Dayal, Alzarri Joseph and Lockie Ferguson along with Khan has tightened the screws on the opposition and has been bailed out by batters on their off days.
On the other hand, Royal Challengers, who were battling for a playoff spot after winning five out of their initial seven matches, now find themselves outside the top-four bracket after losing two matches on the trot.
All eyes will be on Virat Kohli, whose extended lean form has become a talking point among experts and it remains to be seen if he will be given a break. Faf du Plessis, Glenn Maxwell and Dinesh Karthik’s recent lack of runs has increased Challengers’ batting problems. Add to this the dearth of contribution from Indian batters in the line-up – Shahbaz Ahmed and Suyash Prabhudessai. So, sorting out the batting order is something the management would need to do on an urgent basis.