Gujarat Titans vs Mumbai Indians match preview
Current record: Gujarat (8 - 2), Mumbai (1 - 8)
Both teams have played two games at Brabourne this season, Gujarat have won two from two, with both of their wins coming in last over chases, while Mumbai are winless and have lost one chasing and one setting a target.
Of the 11 games played at Brabourne so far this, seven have been won by the team chasing. Team batting first has scored 170 or more in nine out of 11 games, two anomalies; Punjab Kings 115 A/O (Game 32) & RCB 68 A/O (Game 36). Game 32 was when Punjab picked their XI with KG Rabada & Ellis at 7 & 8, which didn’t seem to suit their philosophy/batting template at all. If you remove those two matches, the batting economy rate is just shy of 9.1rpo, plus extra’s.
Edit: Since the start of writing this, another game has been played at Brabourne. A match that saw 380 runs come off the bat between DC & SRH, further evidence of the batting-friendly nature at this venue.
Other than those two matches, Brabourne has clearly been the best batting venue so far this season and arguably the most predictable. The difficulty for bowlers has been reflected in both the pace & spin bowling stats, spinners have gone at 8.5 rpo, well above the tournament average. A lower percentage of deliveries have been bowled by spin at Brabourne, than any other venue this IPL, though there isn’t much difference between the four venues.
Gujarat have batted first five times this season, only managing to score above 180 once, with an average total of just under 165 while batting first. Bowling, combined with a bit of a luck, has been one of the main reasons for their success. If they bat first, it’s unlikely they’ll take the game away from you in the first innings.
Mumbai have obviously had a dismal campaign, though they definitely aren’t as bad as they’ve shown. Key players under performing and strange starting XI decisions are among the reasons for their lack of success. They’re clearly trying to build for the future, however, it would be a cop out to use that as an excuse for some of their performances this season.
Previous match line ups:
Gujarat have been going with a bowling-heavy approach of late, utilising five main bowling options, which has left them looking a little light on batting depth, with Rashid Khan carded at 7 and limited batting ability after that. It’s not dissimilar to the Rajasthan Royals approach. As opposed to their plan in the initial games of using Tewatia and Hardik Pandya as the fifth bowling option. An injury issue for Hardik has limited his ability to bowl and thus they had to make the change, not trusting Tewatia solely as the fifth bowling option.
I doubt we’ll see much change with the Gujarat XI, though they do strike me as a team that could be fairly reactionary to losses, however, with eight wins on the board I think they’ll stick with a similar XI. One possible change could be Dominic Drakes, for Alzarri Joseph, if they feel they need a bit of extra batting depth, though they’d lose out on bowling quality. Yash Dayal may return in place of Pradeep Sangwan, if he’s fit.
Mumbai finally got their first win of the tournament, last time out, at the ninth time of asking. I imagine they’ll go with an unchanged team, while they’ve still got the slimmest of chances of making the playoffs. It’s not exactly a potent bowling line up and I’d prefer they went with Murugan Ashwin instead of off spin bowler - Hrithik Shokeen, however, given he has shown some ability with the bat and the fact that Gujarat have three LHB’s in their top six, Shokeen will likely keep his place.
Mumbai introduced Tim David back into the XI last game, a positive move and a much needed change, considering the performances of Pollard in this campaign. It also allows Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Varma to bat in positions that suit their skillset best, though it’s worth noting that Suryakumar has shown impressive development in his power hitting against non-spin, giving him greater versatility:
Whereas previously he’d typically been a rigid number 3, Mumbai can be more flexible with his role.
General performance levels
The consensus for many is that Gujarat are overperforming and I’d agree, there isn’t much to suggest that they’re anywhere close to the level of results they’ve produced thus far:
Gujarat have performed at around about tournament average for most batting metrics this season, which could be seen as a surprise itself, given their underwhelming batting line up. They’ve been a below average six hitting side but have made up for it by being good strike rotators. In terms of bowling, they’re just above average when it comes to economy rate and again, around average for most other basic metrics. Their base numbers aren’t indicative of a side that should be 8 wins from 10.
Mumbai have definitely underwhelmed this season, batting has been below par, considering the amount they spent on constructing it. The bowling always looked to be an issue, with them willing to wait onJofra Archer, it left them short on wicket taking options. Requiring eight overs from Hritik Shoheen, Daniel Sams and Kieron Pollard is far from ideal, which was only compounded when they decided to take their wrist spinner (M Ashwin) out of the XI.
Powerplay wickets has been an important part of Gujarat’s success, Shami & Ferguson have taken 15 of their 21 wickets in 33 powerplay overs, in comparison to five wickets in 27 overs for other powerplay overs for Gujarat this season. Lockie bowls exclusively in overs 5 & 6, while Shami will often bowl three straight through in powerplays (has bowled 26 out of 60 powerplay overs). On one hand, there’s an argument that avoiding losing wickets to these two will be key for MI, however, if you can disrupt their plan, which clearly relies on Shami doing the majority of the early work, it’ll test Hardik Pandya as a captain.
Their wicket taking threat during the first part of the middle overs phase has been surprisingly low, considering they have one of the most valuable t20 bowlers in Rashid Khan and one of the fastest bowlers in Lockie Ferguson. The two have managed only two wickets in 30 overs between overs 7 & 11, I’d expect this to pick up. Gujarat being an above average death bowling side so far this season is rather surprising, considering the options they have and I’m not sure they can keep that up.
Mumbai have been particularly poor with the ball in the later overs, perhaps coming as a result of their inability to take wickets earlier on in the innings, allowing set batters to accelerate with ease later on. It may lead to them holding back Bumrah once again, which is a negative move and I’d rather they had a more conservative approach with Riley Meredith.
Neither team has really excelled with the bat but Gujarat have largely made up for it with some surprisingly good performances from their middle/lower order. While Mumbai have struggled to gain any sort of momentum in any of the phases.
Stats against pace and spin:
Struggles against pace/non-spin has been an issue for Mumbai, scoring at almost 0.4 rpo below the tournament average and losing wickets more regularly. Could potentially be an issue, given Gujarat will likely bowl 15–16 overs of non-spin. Neither team has been terrible against spin and Gujarat are preventing wickets, which is unexpected, given how weak their middle order looked at the start of the tournament.
Player Notes (Gujarat):
Shubman Gill - 269 runs, SR 138, AV 27.
After two fifties in his first three games, Gill has only scored 89 runs in his last seven matches. Decent strike rate but quite a low boundary percentage (17.4) for an opener. Very good strike rotator and strong against high pace/short ball.
Wriddhiman Saha - 154 runs, SR 128, AV 31.
Looks to utilise the powerplay and is generally quite good at it (apart from IPL 2021) but is limited beyond that. Struggles against high pace and wrist spin. Has been good against left arm pace/seam in a small-ish sample size.
Sai Sudarshan - 131 runs, SR 127, AV 44.
Looks like a technically correct player, with limited power, which could be an issue if he bats through. Scored a fifty last time out, in a difficult situation. Need to see more of him.
Hardik Pandya - 309 runs, SR 132, AV 44 & 18.3 overs, ER 7.57, SR 28.
Whether it’s his best position or not, Hardik is doing a solid job when it comes to holding down this middle order. Not as weak as some people think against spin but it’s definitely the better option against him. Don’t even consider bowling off spin at him, he’ll take it down. Isn’t bowling at the moment, speeds were up earlier in the tournament but not sure how detrimental this injury will be to that.
David Miller - 287 runs, SR 146, AV 57.
Overperforming? Miller is having much more success than he has previously found in IPL. A big improvement in his numbers against spin has been key to that, scoring 131 runs from 92 deliveries, only being dismissed once against all spin bowling this season. Sustainable in the long run? Unlikely. A few more games and it would’ve just about helped Gujarat paper over the cracks of their weak middle order. Good strike rotator.
Rahul Tewatia - 190 runs, SR 153, AV 38 & 5 overs, ER 13.
Not much about Tewatia screams a reliable finisher, he is generally a slow starter (first 10 balls SR of 93 in previous seasons) and struggles against high pace, also limited against spin. Somehow finding a way to get it done so far. Doesn’t seem to be trusted with the ball.
Rashid Khan - 40 overs, ER 6.92, SR 27 & 71 runs, SR 192, AV 18.
A little below par with the ball so far. Currently on course for his most expensive IPL season and his worst wicket taking one. LHB’s have been able to get hold of him a bit easier than in previous IPL seasons. Has played a couple of high impact knocks already.
Alzarri Joseph - 19 overs, ER 8.79, SR 23.
Has been used as a multi-phase bowler and is doing okay but you’d probably want slightly more from an overseas pace option.
Lockie Ferguson - 39 overs, ER 8.97, SR 21.
Gujarat will be delighted with his wicket taking threat in the enforcer powerplay overs but disappointed with it through the middle overs. Generally struggles at the death in IPL, with an economy of 10.5rpo in this phase, though that isn’t disastrous.
Yash Dayal - 16 overs, ER 9.12, SR 14.
Probably their first choice option as secondary domestic pace bowler. Hasn’t really shown the powerplay threat they would’ve liked, despite that he has managed to pick up wickets in other phases.
Player Notes (Mumbai):
Rohit Sharma - 155 runs, SR 123, AV 17.
Has been very average at IPL level for a while, so it isn’t surprising that he has struggled in a season where other top order players also have. Not great against SLA/leg spin and also vulnerable to left arm pace early on. Keep it on the fuller side to him as a spinner.
Ishan Kishan - 225 runs, SR 111, AV 28.
A horror season so far that wasn’t really expected by anyone, though it perhaps should’ve been, considering his contrasting IPL records in India & UAE:
Seems to be struggling with the extra pace & bounce on the pitches in India, in comparison to the UAE. Strikes at below 100 against off spin and takes on leg spin with mixed success, don’t let him slog sweep you if you’re a spin bowler.
Suryakumar Yadav - 290 runs, SR 147, AV 48.
One of the only players that has consistently performed for MI this season. His power game against non-spin has levelled up. He has hit 15 sixes this season in seven innings, which is one shy of his previous best for an entire season. SLA is probably the best option to him.
Tilak Varma - 307 runs, SR 137, AV 44.
The other bright spark for MI. Batting him at 5 was a very strange decision and I’m glad they seem to have pushed him up to number four. Has looked very comfortable against most bowlers this season but particularly against spin. This Gujarat bowling line up will be one of his tougher tests this season.
Kieron Pollard - 125 runs, SR 120, AV 16 & 10 overs, ER 8.6, SR 20.
His performances are definitely a concern, there’s enough average bowling in this IPL, that even an out-of-form should be able to take down and he hasn’t managed to do that. Doesn’t seem to trust his own game against spin anymore.
Tim David - Obviously hasn't played enough games to truly judge him at IPL level. His performances in other leagues don’t suggest he’ll have any problems in the long term. One of MI’s most ridiculous decisions this season was buying David for 8cr, then dropping him after two games. Dismissed 10 times in 107 deliveries against left arm pace since the start of 2020.
Daniel Sams - 23 overs, ER 10.48, SR 20.
Doesn’t look to be good enough with the ball at IPL level, which has resulted in Mumbai almost having to hide his overs. Will likely bowl two in the powerplay, might have a chance if he can hold a line/length against Gill. Capable hitter with the bat but hasn’t really showed it yet.
Hrithik Shokeen - 9 overs, ER 9, SR 27.
Will be interesting to see how they use him. Gujarat have three LHB’s but two fo those will likely come in a 5 & 6 and they won’t want to hold back overs from an off spinner for too long. MI could look to give him the first or second over, I’d expect Gill would look to rotate, while Saha would take on the matchup.
Riley Meredith - 12 overs, ER 7.42, SR 14.
Has done a good job so far, Brabourne will be a big test for him though. A venue where a lot of high pace bowlers have struggled. There will definitely be match ups he can look to exploit.
Jasprit Bumrah - 34.2 overs, ER 7.46, SR 41.
Disappointing lack of wicket taking threat so far this season. Although it always felt like a possibility that teams would look to see him out as the only real quality bowler in the MI bowling line up. MI’s need for Bumrah at the back of the innings has seen them hold him back, I’d like to see him with a more aggressive role (front load), especially against Gujarat team. Hasn’t been quite as effective against LHB’s as he has been in previous seasons, which is something worth keeping an eye on.
Bowling matchup guides:
I’d expect Daniel Sams will be front-loaded again, as I wouldn’t want to see him bowling against any of Gujarat’s lower/middle order with the form they’re in. Bumrah looks to be much better suited to bowling at the Gujarat top order as well and Mumbai could possibly hold Meredith back for hard lengths/short balls against Pandya & Tewatia. Hrithik Shokeen might be difficult to use if Gujarat decide to take him in the powerplay, they MUST keep him away from Hardik Pandya, who whacks off spin in ODI cricket, let alone t20’s. I’d definitely prefer to see Murugan Ashwin against this Gujarat batting line up, even if they lose out on batting depth.
Shami, as always, will be more threatening to RHB’s early on and looks to have a favourable match up against Rohit and Surykaumar Yadav. If an early wicket falls, I’d definitely consider sending in Tilak Varma at 3. Lockie needs to perform better and should have a good chance to do so, he’ll probably be held back for Pollard. Rashid Khan’ most positive match ups are against Rohit & Pollard and even though I’ve marked Tilak Varma as red, I doubt that would be the case, just because he has looked so good against spin so far this tournament, I would rather focus on pace against him. Hardik’ bowling availability is unknown and it probably wouldn’t be a great game for him to come back in any case, with many of these players knowing him well. The left arm pacer could be an option against David, in particular, who has shown vulnerability against that in the last couple of years. I didn’t put Daniel Sams on this chart but any sort of high pace is the best option against him.
These charts are definitely just a guide and with some players it’s based more on gut feel, due to minimal available data for younger players.
It feels like the toss will be more important than most in this game. Mumbai’ batting is their strong suit and they look set up to chase scores, having spent almost over 55cr on their likely top six. It hasn’t performed to its potential yet, however, with the introduction of David and better positions for SKY & Varma, I’d expect it to perform much better in the final few matches.
Like I mentioned earlier, Gujarat aren’t exactly a side that will take the game away from you with the bat, unless you bowl really badly and with their batting depth possibly being an issue again this game (could make changes) and the form of Gill, a more conservative approach could continue. Mumbai won’t mind conceding a par/slightly above par total if they bowl first, though the four-pronged pace attack of Gujarat will test their batting.
If Mumbai bat first, I think they’ll struggle and will probably need in excess of 200 to win the match, if conditions are similar to what we’ve seen at Brabourne so far this season. In the four games where Mumbai have bowled in the 2nd innings in this campaign, the match has only reached the 20th over on one ocassion.