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Rajasthan Royals will host table-toppers Gujarat Titans in their next reverse fixture of TATA IPL 2023. Having suffered defeats in their previous games, both teams will be eager to return to winning ways.
The finalists of TATA IPL 2022 have carried their form to this season and looked like the team to beat this year as well. RR - who are being led by Sanju Samson - and Hardik Pandya's GT look front-runners in the playoffs race. It will be the final game before TATA IPL 2023 witnesses the rivalry week.
Former India cricketer Ravi Shastri has backed Gujarat Titans as the title favourites in the TATA IPL 2023 due to the balance this team has and the way it is performing collectively as a unit.
Speaking on Star Sports' Cricket Live, Ravi Shastri said, "Looking at the current form and team standings, I believe that Gujarat will win the trophy. There is consistency and flexibility in this team and there are seven-eight players who are performing consistently. The players in this Gujarat side complement each other."
Shastri - the former India head coach - has also praised the way Sanju Samson is leading RR and seems mighty impressed with the way the wicketkeeper-batter is handling his spin troika of R Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal and Adam Zampa in TATA IPL 2023.
Speaking on Star Sports' Cricket Live, Ravi Shastri said, "Sanju Samson has matured as a captain. He uses his spinners very well. Only a good captain can play with three spinners and use them smartly."
Earlier on Thursday, Kolkata Knight Riders defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad in yet another nail-biting last-over thriller in TATA IPL.
With 9 runs required from the final over, Sunrisers Hyderabad's lower-order batters failed to overhaul it due to a sensational bowling effort from Varun Chakaravarthy. The mystery spinner conceded just 3 runs from the final over as KKR won by 5 runs to avenge their defeat against SRH at home.
Former India cricketer Harbhajan Singh lauded Chakaravarthy for keeping himself calm in the crunch moments and sticking to his game plan.
Speaking on Star Sports' Cricket Live, Harbhajan Singh said, "Varun Chakravarthy bowled tight lines all along the death overs against SRH. He changed his angle and showed confidence in the final over to defend 8 runs. It was good captaincy from Nitish Rana as well for giving the ball to Varun."
Rinku Singh - who has become the leading run-scorer for KKR in the ongoing TATA IPL 2023 season - once again played a vital knock for his team. It was Rinku's patient knock of 46 off 35 deliveries which took KKR to a respectable total as the top-order failed to live up to the expectation. The UP cricketer received plaudits from another stalwart of UP cricket, Mohammed Kaif.
Speaking on Star Sports' Cricket Live, Md Kaif said, "Rinku Singh has been showing a lot of maturity with his performances. His footwork is very good, he looks confident every time he walks in the middle. He knows how to convert his form into good knocks and also knows when to shift gears. He keeps rotating the strike early on and later plays his shots. Rinku is capable of hitting big shots as well and this quality makes him a special player."
Catch LIVE & Exclusive action of Rajasthan Royals vs Gujarat Titans, 5th April, 2023, 7:30 PM onwards, on the Star Sports Network
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