Kolkata: Star Sports is showcasing the highly anticipated ‘Rivalry Week’, from May 6 to 13.
Fans are also getting to witness the rivalry between teams from different regions of the country, thus adding up to some more spice. The final match of the Rivalry Week will be between two teams from the West of India i.e. Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Titans.
Most of the teams are still within reach of the playoffs spot, making this edition one of the most closely fought contests in the 15 years of the tournament. The rivalry week kick-started on May 6 with one of the ‘Greatest Rivalries’ of IPL and will culminate with a high-profile battle between five-time champions and defending champions.
Former India cricketer Ravi Shastri reckons it will be an emotional homecoming for Gujarat Titans’ skipper Hardik Pandya who achieved stardom playing at Wankhede but defeating Mumbai Indians here is always tough for visiting teams.
Speaking on Star Sports’ Cricket Live, Shastri said, “Hardik’s homecoming will be emotional. He will play a crucial match against the team at the ground where he rose to stardom. Hardik would like to prove a lot by leading his team to victory. This match will be really interesting as it will not be easy for GT to beat MI at their home and then MI would like to equalize the defeat in Ahmedabad and take a strong step towards the playoffs.”
Former India cricketer Harbhajan Singh cautioned Mumbai Indians to bring their A-Game against a strong Gujarat side which looks pretty balanced and a superior bowling attack.
Harbhajan said, “MI will have to bring their A-Game against GT because the latter’s bowling lineup is very strong. GT has Rashid, Shami and other quality bowlers. Mumbai’s bowling attack, on the other hand, is weaker and they are leaking 200-plus runs. Yes, MI have chased down three consecutive 200-plus totals, but the law of averages might catch up. Also, toss is going to be very crucial in that game, if MI lose the toss, it will be tough.”
Former India cricketer S Sreesanth believes the match between the two heavyweights will be interesting but commended the way Gujarat Titans management is taking care of the players.
Sreesanth said, “This match between MI and GT will be very exciting. MI are playing at Wankhede. They will enter this match on the back of a big win. Hardik, on the other hand, is captaining GT brilliantly. Also, the team management of GT puts the team on the field with very good preparation. This team lives in a family ecosystem and it is easy to win in this situation.”