When IPL-2022 started, little did one expect the newbies of the tournament, Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants, to be perched on top of the table after 11 matches. Both sides have won eight and lost three with LSG’s superior net run rate pushing it ahead of GT.
It has been a fairytale run for both teams. The Lucknow management fought tooth and nail to get KL Rahul on board as skipper before the auction in February. They flushed out £1.7 million for the dynamic opening bat. Rahul has returned the faith by not only scoring 451 runs in the tournament so far, including two centuries, but has shown astuteness with his captaincy skills.
Then LSG brought the experience of Gautam Gambhir as the team mentor. The plethora of allrounders Lucknow picked, or the move to opt for extreme pace in the form of Avesh Khan and Dushmantha Chameera, all had the stamp of Gambhir on it.
Likewise, Gujarat struck a chord and immediately built a fan base when they went for Hardik Pandya to lead their side. They also managed to woo a young and upcoming batsman like Shubman Gill away from Kolkata Knight Riders, but the absolute heist was securing a match-winner like Rashid Khan from Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Former India fast bowler Ashish Nehra was roped in as the head coach and that reflected in the decisions Gujarat took at the auction. They focused on bolstering their bowling department, and got the services of top fast bowlers like Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson and Alzarri Joseph.
The ‘Iceman’ Rahul Tewatia, who has won Gujarat at least four matches on his own, was another great investment. As was South African David Miller, who has often had to warm the benches since teams have had other ‘big names’ filling up the foreigner quota in the playing XI. Gujarat don’t have that luxury and that has worked for Miller.