GT a strong team to beat, says Finch ahead of IPL 2023 Qualifier 2 vs MI

Former Australia captain Aaron Finch feels the Gujarat Titans (GT) will be tough to beat for Mumbai Indians (MI) when the two sides lock horns in Qualifier 2 of the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) on Friday.

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Defending champions GT, who topped the league stage of the IPL for a second season running after debuting last year, suffered a 15-run loss at the hands of four-time winners Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Chennai on Tuesday.

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They now face an upbeat MI, who thrashed Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) by 81 runs in the Eliminator on Wednesday, for a place in the summit clash that takes place at their home venue of the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

“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,” Finch, who has been part of nine different IPL franchises, said on Star Sports ahead of Friday’s Qualifier 2.

Gujarat and Mumbai have met each other twice so far this season. While GT won the first encounter in Ahmedabad by 55 runs, Mumbai clawed back in the second meeting at their home turf, handing the Hardik Pandya-led side a 27-run defeat at the Wankhede Stadium.

Read | Mumbai Indians peaking at the right time, says Cameron Green

Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan, meanwhile, hailed Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma for his “astute captaincy” as the five-time champions recovered from a shaky start to the season to reach the playoffs and beat LSG in the Eliminator.

“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,” Pathan said on Star Sports.

With Qualifier 1 and the Eliminator having taken place at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium, the action now shifts to Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium, which will host Qualifier 2 as well as the final on 26 and 28 May respectively.

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