Suryakumar Yadav and Rashid Khan© BCCI/Sportzpics
The Qualifier 2 between defending champions Gujarat Titans and 5-time winners Mumbai Indians is set to get underway at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Friday. Though there remain a number of top-player battles to look forward to in the match, arguably the one that most people have their sights set on is the Suryakumar Yadav vs Rashid Khan duel. The two cricketers, firmly categorised as the best in their respective categories, are two of the most exciting T20 talents in the world. But only one of them can prevail this time.
After a poor start to the IPL 2023 season, Surya has given his form a huge lift, scoring over 500 runs in the campaign so far, including a century. Rashid, on the other hand, is the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 25 scalps in 15 matches to his name.
Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar, in a chat on ESPNCricinfo, expressed his excitement at the Suryakumar vs Rashid battle which is expected to take place in the Qualifier 2.
"There is one of the world's best T20 bowlers on one side - Rashid Khan. On the other hand, there is Suryakumar Yadav, the world's best T20 batter. I am not saying the contest will decide the match, but it will be the contest to look forward to. On very few occasions do you get to witness the world's best T20 batter taking on the best T20 bowler," Manjrekar said.
Manjrekar also gave his insights on the MI vs GT battle in Ahmedabad, suggesting the pitch will be of equal benefit to both despite being the home ground for Hardik Pandya's men.
"This pitch will suit Mumbai Indians as well as Gujarat Titans. Titans will be happy that they are not playing in Chepauk and have returned to Ahmedabad. Their hard-hitters will be a lot more effective here. Their spinners do no need turning pitches. Noor Ahmad and Rashid Khan can trouble batters on good pitches as well."
"It's quite interesting that Gujarat Titans were the best team in the league stage and Mumbai Indians were termed the weakest side in the qualifiers. But the manner in which Mumbai Indians have been winning games, the way they have batted and bowled, and the way Titans lost the last game, suddenly both teams seem to be on even terms for me - on the same level.
Though the two teams are quite evenly matches, Manjrekar feels the Titans have slight edge because of their spin department.
"It will be difficult to make a prediction. The winning momentum is with Mumbai, but there is a big difference in the spin departments of the teams. If that comes into play, then one would have to back Titans."
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