3 things GT need to do right to bounce back in IPL 2024 clash vs RCB

Gt will need their big guns to step up against RCB [Credit: Shubman Gill & Rashid Khan Instagram handles]
Gt will need their big guns to step up against RCB [Credit: Shubman Gill & Rashid Khan Instagram handles]

Two of the three bottom-placed teams, Gujarat Titans (GT) and Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB), will battle it out for survival in Match No. 52 of IPL 2024 at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday, May 4.

GT will enter the game on the back of a two-game losing streak, while RCB are winners of their last two. The two teams met in their respective last outings, with RCB coming out on top by a thumping nine-wicket margin in only 16 overs.

Overall, the two teams have split their four meetings in the IPL, with GT knocking RCB out of the tournament last year with a win at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

However, things have changed for GT this season, with the side struggling for consistency after the Hardik Pandya trade and the injury to Mohammed Shami. Nevertheless, they are still in contention for the playoffs should they triumph in their final four outings, starting with the RCB clash.

On that note, let us look at three things GT must do right for a bounce-back win against RCB.

#1 Shubman Gill must come to the party and score big

GT skipper Shubman Gill hasn't been at his best this season after a historic IPL 2023. However, fans from both teams will do well to remember his heroics against RCB at the Chinnaswamy last year.

The 24-year-old tore apart the RCB attack to score an unbeaten 52-ball 104 to help GT pull off a run-chase of 198.

Fast forward to the current season and Gill has labored to 320 runs at an average of under 36 in 10 outings. This is after his 890-run season to help GT qualify for the final in IPL 2023.

Further worrying is Gill's poor last four outings, where he has averaged only 16.25 with a highest score of 35. His 19-ball 16 in the first meeting between GT and RCB stalled the early momentum in the innings and potentially made a difference of 20-30 runs to the final total.

Gill's impact on GT's wins and losses also cannot be underestimated, with the batter averaging over 43 at a strike rate of 141.50 in their four victories and under 30 in their six defeats.

With GT being thin on batting depth and form in the middle and lower order, Gill's ability to anchor the innings and explode at the end must come to the forefront for dethroning a suddenly confident RCB unit at Bengaluru.

#2 Afghan spin duo must bounce back from dismal recent form

A close look at GT's last three outings provides glaring evidence of the importance of the Afghanistan spin duo of Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmad to their fortunes.

The duo combined for figures of 0/94 in eight overs in GT's latest defeat against RCB, with Will Jacks slaughtering both spinners to all corners of the ground. Rashid and Noor did not fare much better in the Delhi Capitals (DC) clash before the RCB encounter, combining for 1/71 in seven overs.

While DC amassed 224/4 in 20 overs, RCB hunted down 206 in just 16 overs, thanks largely to the dismal showings of both spinners. Yet, a peek at GT's last win against Punjab Kings (PBKS) shows the Afghan tweakers finishing with figures of 3/35 in eight overs.

This season has been mostly disappointing for Rashid and Noor, with the former boasting only eight wickets in 10 games, while the latter is on six from eight outings. For GT to have any chance of wrecking the power-packed RCB batting lineup, the duo must bounce back from their sub-par last couple of bowling stints.

#3 Personnel changes to turnaround sinking IPL 2024 ship

GT have struggled to fine-tune its overseas personnel throughout the 2024 IPL season, resulting in a lack of cohesion and continuity.

Although this season has seen the Chinnaswamy Stadium be more balanced towards bat and ball, providing even the spinners to remain in the contest, GT must make a few blatant changes to their lineup.

For starters, they must question playing three spinners - Rashid Khan, Noor Ahmed, and Sai Kishore on a smaller ground like Bengaluru. They could look to bring back Aussie left-arm pacer Spencer Johnson for Noor to bolster their ability to strike upfront.

Johnson's inclusion will also add variety to the pace-bowling attack featuring a woefully out-of-form Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Warrier, and Azmatullah Omarzai. However, if they wish to retain Noor in the playing XI for his mystery, Johnson could also replace Omarzai, who has made little impact this season.

Hardly bowling his quota of four overs and batting lower down the order, the Afghanistan all-rounder has failed to live up to his pre-tournament billing. Omarzai has scored only 42 runs at an average of 10.50 with the bat while picking up four wickets in seven games.

GT could also ponder replacing Mohit Sharma with Umesh Yadav or Darshan Nalkande, considering the former's recent form. Mohit has conceded 114 runs in six overs over his last two bowling stints at a brutal economy rate of 19 per over.

The inclusion of Spencer Johnson for Omarzai or Noor and the replacing of Mohit could be the tonic the doctor ordered for GT to resurrect their sinking IPL 2024 campaign with a win over RCB.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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