Ahmedabad, May 25 (VOICE) The stage is set for the highly-anticipated Qualifier 2 in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 after Mumbai Indians booked the seat with a comprehensive 81-run win over Lucknow Super Giants in Eliminator at Chennai on Wednesday.
Mumbai, the five-time IPL champions, will face off against defending champions Gujarat Titans in Qualifier 2 at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday. The winner of the match will set up a summit clash with four-time champions Chennai Super Kings on Sunday.
Former Australia skipper Aaron Finch believes the Hardik Pandya-led side is balanced due to many match-winners in their line-up. “GT are a strong team to beat because they have a world-class bowler in Rashid Khan. They have a good captain in Hardik Pandya, who’s shown a lot of maturity. Thirdly, their fast bowling attack is also balanced,” he was quoted as saying by Star Sports.
Though Gujarat lost to Chennai in Qualifier 1, they will be arriving to play the second Qualifier in the comfort of their home ground. Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh believes the presence of senior pacer Mohammed Shami, also the leading wicket-taker in the competition makes things tough for opponents.
“Mohd Shami is a bowler every team looks to have. He’s a good new-ball bowler. He nails quick yorkers in the death overs. He has a brilliant seam position and becomes an unplayable bowler when there’s swing.”
Harbhajan went on to hail leg-spin all-rounder Rashid Khan for chipping in with both bat and ball in IPL 2023.
“Rashid Khan is a player from a different league. He’s picking up wickets in heaps, he’s scoring runs, he’s a gun fielder, and he lead GT whenever captain Hardik wasn’t available. He’s done everything and excelled. GT are exceptionally lucky to have a player like Rashid in their ranks.”
Talking about Mumbai, Harbhajan claimed having a very approachable captain like Rohit Sharma has made life easy for’the franchise’s uncapped players.
“Rohit Sharma is a very chilled-out captain. He is a very approachable captain even for the youngsters. He never carries that ego and youngsters can reach out to him anytime.”
“He loves spending time with uncapped players. He’s someone who hasn’t taken success to his head, he’s very humble and shows a lot of respect to the senior players. This humility makes Rohit a great player.”
Former India left-arm pacer Irfan Pathan hailed Rohit for marshalling his troops exceptionally well despite missing some of the key players due to injuries.
“Rohit Sharma has delivered once again for Mumbai Indians. He was faced with a crisis at the start of the competition when key pacer Jasprit Bumrah was out.”
“Jofra Archer struggled with his form and fitness but this captain marshalled his troops well. He first guided MI to the eliminator and then took his team to the qualifiers with his astute captaincy.”