Probuddha Bhattacharjee ∙ Updated: May 22 2023, 6:14 PM | 3 Min Read

Horses for All The Courses: Gujarat Titans - X Factor

image-lhytpw1kHardik Pandya after their last home match in the league stage of IPL 2023 (Source: AP Photo)

The Indian Premier League (IPL 2023) is down to its business end. The defending champions, Gujarat Titans (GT), have once again played cricket of the highest quality and have steamrolled past most of the teams to earn a berth in the top four. 

As we are just four matches away from getting to know the champions of IPL 16, we take a look at the x-factor for the Titans. Who or what might be an added impetus for the Hardik Pandya-led side? 

GT-X Factor: Well-defined roles for each player

The perfect opening combo

Gujarat has good starts from Wriddhiman Saha or Shubman Gill in most matches. Saha has been tasked with attacking from the word go and utilising the powerplay to the best. On the other hand, Shubman Gill has been asked to be a sheet anchor who can ensure the team's steady progress throughout the innings. Both the players have so far played their part to perfection. 

A middle-order for all purpose

Now, if we move to the middle order, each player's job is well-defined. Here is a look at the role of each player:

Vijay Shankar - The stabiliser; if a wicket falls early, they bring in Shankar to stabilize the ship and play the anchor role. 

Hardik Pandya - The all-purpose leader, Hardik brings himself to the crease as per the situation of the match and then adapts accordingly. He has promoted himself to number three, moulded himself as an anchor, and also has done the job of a middle-order enforcer. 

Abhinav Manohar - The proper middle-order enforcer, the young middle-order batter, has been used as the pinch hitter by GT. Manohar has been brought into the scheme of things whenever GT needs quick runs. His job is to increase the scoring rate in the middle order when the game looks like drifting away from them. 

David Miller - The designated finisher, Miller, has been assigned to provide the finishing touches to the GT innings. He has been playing his role to perfection since the past season. He gauges the situation and then plays the perfect knock required to finish the game for his team.

Rashid Khan - The Afghan superstar, the lower-order rescuer, has done an excellent job with the ball in the tournament. But GT has made the best use of the batter in him. Rashid Khan has played a couple of brilliant knocks at the lower order since the last season and repaid the team's faith in his batting. 

An well assorted bowling attack

Now if we move into the bowling department, the roles seem like this

Mohammed Shami - The powerplay wicket-taker, Shami's job is to put the opposition on the backfoot with wickets at the beginning of the innings. 24 wickets in 14 matches speak of how effective Shami has been with the new cherry. 

Rashid Khan- The backbone of GT's bowling in the middle overs has been one of the prime reasons they have been near-perfect this tournament. He, too, has 24 wickets in 14 matches and has changed the complexion of many a game with his brilliant bowling. 

Noor Ahmad - The strangler, has played the perfect aid to Rashid Khan in the tournament. While Rashid bowls with an attacking mindset, Noor Ahmad bowls tight lines and lengths and keeps the scoring rate in check, creating pressure on the opposition. 

Mohit Sharma - The finisher with the cherry, has been the perfect addition to the GT squad. Mohit Sharma comes into the attack towards the end of an inning and provides them with wickets. He might have been expensive, but given the situations, he comes into bowl, he has done a more than decent job so far.