back icon


Gujarat Titans: Vibe, substance and a title-run exceeding all expectations

Last updated on 30 May 2022 | 04:44 AM
Google News IconFollow Us
Gujarat Titans: Vibe, substance and a title-run exceeding all expectations

As a unit, Titans have surpassed all expectations

Hardik Pandya collects the trophy, then hands out to Rahmanullah Gurbaz and walks off outside the frame next to Rashid Khan. This is exactly a page from MS Dhoni’s book of leadership. But more importantly, this is how Gujarat Titans have operated this season, as a team. 

“If you can play as a team and build a good unit with genuine people around, wonders can happen,” Hardik Pandya said before he went on to lift the title. As he rightly suggested, you can not just point a finger at one player from the Gujarat side and say, “he has been their only match-winner”. 

In a season where teams have depended on their stars, Gujarat have aligned the stars. 

They were a group of misfits at other franchises. Barring the trio that they retained – Shubman Gill, Hardik Pandya and Rashid Khan – it was a team that was carefully nit-picked at the Auction. Their head coach was Ashish Nehra. 

Three seasons prior to this one, both Nehra and Gary Kirsten, who have now formed a great partnership at the Titans were sacked by the Royal Challengers Bangalore. A novice leader, a failed coach and a bunch of stars who were not priority to their previous franchises: that’s their success story. The stars aligned ever so perfectly even when the odds were heavily stacked against them.

Hardik, the leader couldn’t have led the team at a better time, at a time where he was finding the groove to his own game after being dropped from the national team. After being ridiculed for the number of off-the-grid choices the Titans took, they have shown the world that cricket after all, is still a team game. 

Throughout the season, there were several individual displays of brilliance from the Titans but the success was always down to the “we” factors. In front of 1,00,000 people, the Titans made a statement. It was a perfect homecoming that a few could have only dreamt of at the start of the IPL. 

“We spoke about creating a legacy. Generation to come, everyone will remember this was the team who started this journey and to win the championship first year is very special,” Hardik added in the post-match presentation. 

What made Gujarat the Titans of IPL 2022?

It is a question that seems simple at first glance but the factors that were involved were varying. Gujarat were probably the only “unit” that was there in the competition. At different days, you would find different match-winners. It is tough to point finger at one particular area to say this is where Gujarat won the league but we have tried to list a few. 

Absolute role clarity in Gujarat camp

Hardik as a captain, has a genuine claim of being the best skipper of the competition, leading by example both with the bat and the ball, as he did yet again in the final against Rajasthan Royals with the Player of the Match display. Rashid Khan was at his brilliant best yet again and so was Mohammed Shami, without whom breakthrough in the powerplay would have been a genuine trouble for them. 

What was a common theme throughout all of this is the role clarity of each player in the Gujarat outfit. After the win in the Qualifier 1 against the Royals, Miller, who hasn’t been a regular in the last few years admitted what has made him successful. 

Also read: Resurrected Killer Miller digs a Royal grave

“I've been given a role, I felt extremely backed from the outset,” is what the South African had to say on the management. It wasn’t just Miller, it was a sentiment that was echoed even by Rahul Tewatia after the final, such is the wonder backing could do to a player. 

Miller has indeed resurrected his Killer version, with 481 runs in the competition, averaging 68.7 at a strike-rate of 142.7. In fact, it is the first time the South African batter has faced over 300 deliveries in any IPL season. But never before the start of the season or during it did the Titans doubt his ability, which kept the South African positive. 

Tewatia, likewise, was tagged as the finisher, winning several games during the season. He even elucidated it after the final, stating how there was always the trust from the management. 

"After the auctions there were saying our team had batsmen short, experienced batsmen short but the way the management backed David [Miller] and me was good. The captain trusts me and keeps telling me to trust your game and keep finishing like you do," he said.

The domination from the bowlers

Gujarat Titans have the second-best bowling average (25.3) in the competition. Similarly, they have picked the second-most wickets in this year’s IPL, at 100 wickets. Every 18.5 deliveries, they pick a wicket, yet again the joint second-best record in the competition. In fact, Gujarat’s bowling has been such that they have always been a step ahead of the opposition. 

There are only three phases in an innings, the powerplay, the middle-overs and the death-overs. Each phase comes with its own challenges but throughout the tournament, the Titans have found a way to tackle the challenges.

Also read: Gujarat manifesting God's plan

Shami, who was the big buy for the Titans, picked up 11 wickets in the tournament, the joint-most for any bowler in this year’s competition in the powerplay. Out of 61 overs he bowled this season, 40 were in the powerplay, a phase that the Titans had earmarked at the Auction. Rashid too has ended the season with 11 wickets in the first six overs, averaging just 22.2 and an economy rate of 6.6. 

At the death too, the IPL winners picked up 38 wickets but as the trend has shown, they have conceded the lowest runs (ER 9.4) at the death, conceding a boundary just every 5.4 deliveries, almost +.6 differential with the next best side.  All of it shows why having one of the best bowling units or rather assembling one, helped the Titans to the title. 

Breakthrough star

It is the IPL and there will be no franchise that wouldn’t have unearthed a talent or two. Gujarat are not different; the emergence of Yash Dayal helped the franchise immensely. Not only was Dayal a left-arm pacer but his ability to hit the hard lines and lengths definitely helped the other pacers in picking up the wickets. 

Having been bought at INR 3.2 crore, Dayal brought to the table his skill of bowling with the new ball and the ability to swing it both ways. But as he showed it during the season, he was constantly picking up crucial wickets for the franchise with 11 wickets in the season. 

Not only has been a great wicket-taker for the Titans, his average of 26.9 and an ER of 9.3 only shows that he has a lot to improve, making the future exciting for the franchise. 

If there was one line that could define the franchise’s success, it would be: plenty of vibe and truck-load of substance sprinkled and dazzled with luck. 

Related Article