Gujarat Titans are looking like the real deal in the IPL

Gujarat Titans have made an electric start to the IPL season. Planet Sport takes a look at why everything appears to be clicking for the new franchise.

It may be premature to pass judgement on Gujarat Titans - one of two new franchises in the 2022 IPL - but they appear to have all the raw materials to go the distance, following their impressive performances since the start of the campaign.

Hardik Pandya has taken to IPL captaincy like a duck to water. The 28-year-old has utilised himself at no.4, and was briefly the owner of the orange cap - before Jos Buttler promptly took ownership back - following his third ton, which elevated him to a huge 491 runs.

The skipper has been a pillar of the side to this point, not only with the bat, but with his shrewd captaincy decisions, as well as electric nature in the field, and solid performances with the ball.

Titans' bowling attack

The Titans have potentially the most potent seam-bowling attack in the tournament.

Mohamed Shami - and his ability to swing the ball prodigiously at good pace - combining with New Zealander Lockie Ferguson, who is perfectly capable of clocking upwards of 90mph deliveries. He also has a good, deceptive change of pace, which did for Buttler when they faced Rajasthan.

Both men have got the better of countless batters to this point in the season, and have combined for 19 wickets.

Quality overseas players

The overseas players beyond Ferguson have all played their respective parts, and the Titans appear to have struck the right balance.

T20 World Cup winner Matthew Wade started in decent fashion at the top of the order alongside India international Shubman Gill, and while he'll want to start firing, he did not look all too out of place before being swapped out for Wriddhiman Saha.

The opening pair complement each other well, with Wade's aggressive, unorthodox nature coupling with Gill's ability to play glorious shots, and never seeming to get out of second gear, despite that obviously not being the case; his knock of 96 from 59 reinforces that.

Should Gujarat want to explore yet another option at the top, they have Afghan opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz to call upon, who some clamoured for following a few failures from Wade.

The batter's customary nature of hitting big could mean he slots effortlessly in at the top of the order, and he could bring even more explosiveness to the side, should he be given an opportunity.

Afghan spinner Rashid Khan has acquitted himself well this year, following a number of good seasons before now.

He has eight wickets to his name so far, his googly wreaking havoc at times, and he has not needed to bat all too often, which is testament to the genuine power in the Titans' batting ranks. Though one time he truly was needed he showed his class, with a quickfire 40 runs from 21 balls.

One high-calibre member of that batting order is South African import David Miller.

The Proteas batter is averaging over 73, and his flash-bang innings of 31 from 14 against Rajasthan showcased his genuine power with bat in hand, as his knock helped the Titans to a score of 192.

A subsequent knock of 94 from 51 was all you could want from your big hitter - six sixes in his innings, striking at a rapid rate and meeting each bowling type with disdain as he helped his side across the line with just one ball to spare.

The finisher

Rahul Tewatia has shifted between no.6 and no.7 for the Titans this year, and has been utilised as a genuine finisher.

While his price tag of Rs 9 crore (£900,000 approx) has been questioned, given his position in the order and the limited amount of deliveries he actually faces, he has quickly begun to silence the noise.

Tewatia pumped Punjab Kings' Odean Smith for a pair of sixes on the final two balls of the meeting between the teams, in an unbelievable finish that saw Gujarat snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Can the Titans get better?

While we are only a few games into the Titans' tenure as an IPL team, the squad that has been put together has a lot of genuine quality across each facet of the game, and all of the stars, Indian and overseas, appear to have gelled together well.

There is a long way to go, but Gujarat appear to be establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with, and one of the sides to beat.

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