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IPL-2023 First Qualifier: Defending champions Gujarat Titans to take on Chennai Super Kings in Chennai

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In IPL Cricket, defending champions Gujarat Titans are all set to face Chennai Super Kings in the first Qualifier at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai today.  The match will begin at 7.30 pm.

Tomorrow Mumbai Indians will lock horns with Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator. 

MS Dhoni and Chennai Super Kings have already done their lap of honour around Chepauk and said their thank yous to the fans. The 2023 season began with the possibility of their demigod of 16 years walking away into the sunset after two months. Each of the seven games at home since represented a cathartic reunion, a celebration and just a grand display of gratitude and reverence for the man who put the team on the highest pedestal of success over the years, and made it to the massive mural at the venue.

Tuesday presents the CSK faithful one last chance this season to raise the roof as the team attempts to make a swift entry to what will be their 10th final appearance, and eventually try to match Mumbai Indians for the number of the IPL titles won.

Gujarat Titans however, have no time for such emotional storylines. Just a night ago, Hardik Pandya fielded a full strength side even as his team were confirmed to play the first qualifier, and preached the need to maintain good habits and momentum. The cut-throat decision ended in heartbreak for another of India’s favourite sons as Virat Kohli sunk into his chair in complete despair late on Sunday night following RCB’s league stage ouster. GT were on-brand with the ruthless approach, as it has enabled them to be the only side that has maintained distance from the traffic in the middle of the points table all season.

Any concerns of fatigue due to the short turnaround time between their last league game and the first qualifier are also unfounded. In the first week of May, Pandya’s team has played with a shorter gap between two matches – going from an evening fixture in Jaipur on a Friday, travelling back home on Saturday and featuring in the afternoon game on Sunday. And they didn’t just turn up, they won that fixture. Any perceived advantage for CSK of playing at a venue where GT haven’t this season is also negated by the fact that even they are not too sure about the conditions to expect, while Pandya’s side has been excellent on the road with 6 away wins.

The high-stakes game will thus, come down to fine match-ups and finer margins between two teams that have shown identical tendencies to squeeze out every ounce of ability from the squads at their disposal.

Chennai Super Kings Squad: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devon Conway, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Shivam Dube, Moeen Ali, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni(w/c), Deepak Chahar, Tushar Deshpande, Maheesh Theekshana, Matheesha Pathirana, Mitchell Santner, Subhranshu Senapati, Shaik Rasheed, Akash Singh, Sisanda Magala, Dwaine Pretorius, Ben Stokes, Ajay Jadav Mandal, Prashant Solanki, Simarjeet Singh, RS Hangargekar, Bhagath Varma, Nishant Sindhu

Gujarat Titans Squad: Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha(w), Hardik Pandya(c), Dasun Shanaka, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Mohit Sharma, Noor Ahmad, Mohammed Shami, Yash Dayal, Vijay Shankar, Srikar Bharat, Shivam Mavi, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Abhinav Manohar, Odean Smith, Alzarri Joseph, Matthew Wade, Darshan Nalkande, Urvil Patel, Sai Sudharsan, Jayant Yadav, Pradeep Sangwan.

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