A new franchise Gujarat Titans were set to make their debut in the tournament ahead of IPL 2022 with a brand new captain Hardik Pandya who was supposed to lead the team for first time. However, he scripted a fairytale run beating all the odds to lift the silverware on his debut season as a captain.
IPL 2022 was all set to be played with the addition of two new teams in form of Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants. The tournament was going to be very intense this time as it was a 10-team affair. GT picked Hardik Pandya and Shubhman Gill as their draft picks and they hit jackpot when they also got Rashid Khan in their draft picks. Hardik and Rashid were bought for Rs 15 Crores while Gill was signed for a price of Rs 8 Crores.
The team added to their batting strength with the signing of David Miller and also two solid wicketkeeper-batters in form of Matthew Wade and Wriddhiman Saha in the mega auction. GT also picked Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson, and Alzarri Joseph combining a top-notch battery of pacers. It was a surprise whether Hardik was going to bowl or not but he bowled in some games and the bowling was looking more dangerous with his involvement. Sai Sudharsan, Abhinav Manohar, and Yash Dayal produced some noteworthy performances for the team and they can be the future of the franchise.
Much was not expected of the team in terms of batting as they had David Miller for a finish who was not very successful before the current edition. Hardik was coming back to the game after being away due to a back injury and so there was doubt over his form. Jason Roy pulled out of the tournament as he wasn’t able to cope with the stress of living in a bio-bubble.
However, GT defied all these odds and were a dominating side from start in the league stages. They showed toughness to be crowned as champions and won 10 matches in the league stage losing only against SRH, PBKS, MI, and RCB. In his maiden tenure as the skipper, Hardik pulled off one of the most memorable campaigns leading his squad to their maiden IPL title.
Batting - B+
Except for Matthew Wade, the batting unit fared well collectively. Three batters Hardik Pandya, Shubhman Gill, and David Miller contributed more than 450 runs each in the tournament. Wriddhiman Saha scored 317 runs at a decent average of 31.70 and so a collective effort from the batting unit guided them to victory.
GT scored the second-most number of runs (2517) in the tournament with an average of 157.31 runs per innings. They lost only 82 wickets which is third-least but have a strike rate of 132.82 and lie in the bottom half of the table in the list of teams with the highest scoring rates. The team hit 329 fours and sixes in total which is only less than RR who have hit 388 fours and sixes in total. Overall, the batting of the team was good but only their strike rate was an area of concern.
GT batted first on seven occasions. They amassed 1069 runs at an average of 152.71 runs per innings. The team had the second least strike rate of 127.26 while batting first. Out of the seven occasions, GT won five matches while batting first which is a fine record.
Powerplay - B
GT scored 678 runs and lies at fourth place in the list of teams scoring the most runs in the powerplay. They have an average of 42.37 per innings and it does not indicate an attacking intent but also doesn’t disappoint. The team had a strike rate of 117.71 which was the fourth-highest in the tournament. They hit only 12 sixes which was the least in the powerplay.
Wriddhiman Saha was the highest scorer for the team in the powerplay with 217 runs at 54.25. GT performed average in the powerplay and the reason behind this was the struggle of Shubhman Gill with the bat. He managed to score 215 runs at 35.83 in the powerplay but his strike rate was only 118.13.
Death Overs - A
GT scored second-most runs (763) in the slog overs with an average of 47.68 runs per innings. They enjoy a strike rate of 167.69 and stand fourth in the highest strike rates. However, from the teams above them, only RCB played an equal amount of games, and others played less. Also, GT are only one of the three teams along with RR and RCB to hit more than 100 fours and sixes in total. Overall death overs was a productive phase for the team.
David Miller was the leading run-scorer in death overs for the team as he amassed 230 runs in 14 innings at an impressive strike rate of 174.24. Rahul Tewatia also contributed whenever he got an opportunity to finish the innings scoring 181 runs at a massive strike rate of 182.83.
Bowling - A+
LSG boasted a world-class bowling unit with the pacers like Mohammed Shami and Lockie Ferguson and an elite spinner in the form of Rashid Khan. Joseph Alzarri and Yash Dayal also made important contributions with the ball. GT conceded 2534 runs at an economy of 8.24. They were the most economical bowling unit in the tournament and it was a key factor in their title run. The team picked 101 wickets in the tournament and stands at second position in the list of teams taking the most wickets.
Mohammed Shami was the leading wicket-taker for the team with 20 wickets at an economy of 8.
Powerplay - A
GT conceded 738 runs in the powerplay in 16 innings. They leaked runs with an economy of 7.69 and are the fourth most economical side in the tournament. Only RR have fared better as they have a better economy in spite of playing one more game than GT. The team bowled 298 dot balls in the powerplay which is a good count.
Mohammed Shami was the leading wicket-taker in powerplay in the tournament with 11 wickets at an extraordinary economy of 6.62. He also bowled 140 dot balls in the powerplay which is the second-most count.
Death Overs - A+
In spite of playing the second-most number of games in the IPL 2022, GT conceded 645 runs at an impressive economy of 9.37 in the last four overs. Five teams have conceded more runs than them which indicate the brilliant death bowling by GT bowlers. Also, the side was the most economical bowling unit in death overs which was the main key in their victories. Also, they are in the top three teams to concede the minimum number of fours and sixes respectively.
Mohammed Shami and Rashid Khan both picked eight wickets in the slog overs for GT but Rashid was more impactful with his superb economy of 5.92
Everything clicked well for GT and Hardik should be credited for leading the team from the front. It was the first time he was leading a squad and it was not rated very high by many but he delivered in the role. He was calm and composed in the crunch situation and his composure was radiated into the team as well.
Even when their matches went down the wire, the team looked confident that they can win it. Hardik backed his players very well. He backed Miller and the left-hander produced one of the most memorable seasons for himself scoring 481 runs at 68.71. Shami was breathing fire this season with the new ball in his hand and the captain used him smartly bowling most of his spell in the first half of the innings. Hardik also backed himself to be a new ball bowler in the initial phase of the tournament and also bowled well.
Overall, it was a dream run for the team and Hardik was the architect behind such a convincing and dominating title run.