Firecrackers to explode at Ahmedabad as we may witness a thrilling IPL final!

Two teams who have been in the top two of the points table for the majority of IPL-15 will lock horns with one another for the third and last time this year in the season finale, with all to play for on the line. Little will separate the finalists, Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals, here tonight at the Narendra Modi Stadium at Ahmedabad, as both teams have shown repeatedly the ability to produce different match-winners and lack of reliance on singular heroes.

Gujarat, in particular, has showcased just that. They went in with limited star power, compared to the other teams, but managed to groom ageing greats and floundering young talent into seasoned match-winners who stepped up responsibly every time the team needed them to. Their captain, Hardik Pandya, has led from the front, racking up 453 runs in 14 outings at 45.30 while bowling tidy overs of express pace every now and then, and has proved to be the dependable finisher and all-rounder he is expected to be for his side. Like Protea hard-hitter David Miller said, a positive team environment and clearly defined roles with strong backing have helped bring out the best from each player on the side. Young talent like Sai Sudharsan, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tewatia and Yash Dayal has been aptly backed up by the experienced stalwarts of the side in Mohammad Shami Rashid Khan, and Lockie Ferguson, who have brought their international game-awareness onto the field and churned out match-winning performances.

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Coming to Rajasthan, however, it is difficult to look past Jos Buttler. The Englishman has looked nonhuman this season, notching up a record-equaling four centuries while slamming 824 runs at 58.86, striking at a mind-boggling 151.47. The Royals have had team performances, too, with skipper Sanju Samson scoring freely and Prasidh Krishna and Obed McCoy doing well with the ball in hand, but Buttler’s pyrotechnics at the top of the order has largely overshadowed their efforts. The Rajasthan Royals also have Yuzvendra Chahal in their ranks, who has been in rare form this season and stands tied with RCB’s Wanindu Hasaranga at the top of the wicket-takers’ list this season, behind only on average. Chahal has had a couple of quiet matches with the ball in hand and will be raring to go at Gujarat’s fabled batting order in the all-important final.

If either Buttler or Chahal gets going, they can tear into Gujarat with ease and take the match away in a span of a few overs. Gujarat will back themselves going into the game, however, as they have turned up trumps against their neighbours both times they have met this year, and their ability to find new match-winners when pushed into tight corners may prove to be the difference between the two teams. Odds are quite evenly stacked in each team’s favour, and a truly mouth-watering cracker of a contest awaits us at Ahmedabad here tonight. Stay tuned with The Sportsway for more updates.

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