The Gujarat Titans (GT) haven't lost two games on the trot at any point during the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL). In fact, if you include their title-winning campaign in 2022 as well, it has happened only once in a set of 31 matches.
If GT happen to break that streak this year, it will be catastrophic to their dreams of retaining their crown. Because after losing Qualifier 1 to the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), who have parked themselves in the summit clash, Hardik Pandya and Co. are in the last chance saloon.
The Titans will be boosted by a return to home turf, Ahmedabad, where they will face the Mumbai Indians (MI) in Qualifier 2 on Friday, May 26.
The five-time champions are proving why they're a side that cannot be taken lightly on their worst day. Mumbai seemed to be struggling with personnel at the start of the tournament, but they've come into their own towards the business end and are riding a wave of excellent form.
Interestingly, GT and MI have faced off twice already this season. Even more interestingly, the side batting first came out on top on both occasions. While the Titans turned in a complete performance to clinch the first meeting by 55 runs, the Mumbai Indians hit back with a comfortable win that is most remembered for Rashid Khan's incredible all-round show.
Which team can claim the head-to-head bragging rights and set up a high-octane final clash against MS Dhoni and Co.?
IPL 2023, GT vs MI Match Prediction: Hardik Pandya vs Rohit Sharma for the third time this season
IPL 2023's knockout matches have been almost impossible to predict. This one is no different, with both GT and MI having real chances of triumphing in Qualifier 2.
The Titans will have home advantage, but a true batting wicket is expected to be rolled out. If Mumbai chase on such a pitch, their power-packed lineup can be backed to scale down any total, even against a bowling lineup as potent as GT's.
On paper, GT perhaps have a slight edge. Mohammad Shami is a massive threat in the powerplay, and if he can provide a couple of breakthroughs in the powerplay, things are bound to get tricky for the middle order against Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmad.
On the flip side, Shubman Gill is in sensational form and is known to raise his game under pressure. If he can survive Jason Behrendorff with the new ball, he should be able to cash in against the other bowlers. Key GT players, including captain Hardik Pandya and star batter David Miller, are due telling performances as well.
MI's best chances of winning this IPL 2023 game will come if they win the toss and choose to chase, even though it's a knockout clash where runs on the board will matter. If they manage to insert the Titans into bat, they could very well set up another high-octane final against CSK.
Taking the coin out of the equation, though, Gujarat's better bowling attack could prove to be the difference in a potentially high-scoring IPL 2023 game. This can obviously go either way, with the Titans being the slightest of favorites.
Prediction: GT to win Qualifier 2 of IPL 2023.
Get IPL 2023 Live Score along with Points Table & Schedule Updates at Sportskeeda.
Poll : Who will win Qualifier 2 of IPL 2023?