Mumbai, May 19 (IANS): Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya has won the toss and elected to bat first against Royal Challengers Bangalore in match 67 of the IPL 2022 at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday.
Both teams are undefeated at this venue hosting its 19th match of the ongoing tournament. The last time these two teams met each other at the Brabourne Stadium, it was on April 30 when Gujarat outclassed Bangalore by six wickets.
After winning the toss, Pandya said tearaway quick Lockie Ferguson replaced Alzarri Joseph in the playing eleven. "The kind of situation we are in, we thought we can practice batting first and putting a good score on the board. Obviously we had done well as a group, but we haven't capitalised batting first on opportunities."
Pandya remarked that all players were ready to play in the final league match despite Gujarat sealing their spot in the first qualifier at Kolkata on May 24. "We had a chat with the guys and they all said they want to play; let's continue with the rhythm. Looks like a similar wicket to the one we played against Chennai. But I expect this to play better as this is an evening game."
Asked about his experience as captain in the IPL 2022, Pandya felt captaincy is giving him freedom to express himself in the game. "Always fun when you are winning as well. But overall as well captaincy is allowing me to express my point of view towards the game. It has helped me to become a better cricketer."
Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Faf du Plessis said pacer Siddarth Kaul replaces Mohammed Siraj in the playing eleven in a must-win match for the side to be in contention for the playoffs. "We would have batted too. (Pitch) Looks a bit dry. Our previous game was pretty disappointing."
"The only thing we can control is get the W in the column today. Games like today brings the challenge of what characters could do and we have got some great characters in that dressing room. Hopefully we can have those guys stepping up," stated du Plessis.
Gujarat Titans: Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Shubman Gill, Matthew Wade, Hardik Pandya (captain), David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, R Sai Kishore, Lockie Ferguson, Yash Dayal and Mohammed Shami.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis (captain), Rajat Patidar, Mahipal Lomror, Glenn Maxwell, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Shahbaz Ahmed, Harshal Patel, Wanindu Hasaranga, Siddarth Kaul and Josh Hazlewood.