Former South Africa and Mumbai Indians (MI) captain Shaun Pollock has lauded defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT) performance in the IPL 2023 and backed them to become only the third team to win back-to-back titles.
GT, led by Hardik Pandya, were the first team to qualify for the playoffs this season and finished the league stage with 20 points thanks to 10 wins from 14 matches.
Now they will face the tough test of squaring up against the mighty Chennai Super Kings in their own backyard, the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.
Legendary South African seamer Shaun Pollock termed the Ahmedabad-based side the ‘Manchester City of the IPL’, drawing parallels to the Premier League champions, who claimed their third domestic league title in three years under the stewardship of manager-par-excellence, Pep Guardiola.
“We’ll probably have to call them the Manchester City of the IPL at the moment. Look at the net run-rate, plus 0.8. Not only have they been winning, but they’ve been winning in style,” Pollock said on Cricbuzz.
Pollock pointed out that, GT could find it difficult to adjust to the pressure of the situation after having qualified well ahead of their final couple of games.
“They must go in with a lot of confidence. I mean it’s always a difficult part of the tournament now. You think over the last ten days they’ve already qualified for the first playoff game and they haven’t really had to deal with pressure. Then all of a sudden you go back and you go do or die, not in the first game, but obviously in the second. So at some stage, they have to face the reality that they could get knocked out," legendary pacer said.
Pollock also added that the champions have looked really good throughout the tournament and could emulate the feats of CSK and MI and defend their title successfully.
“And that’s the only different environment or curveball that gets thrown into the equation, but for the rest of it they’ve been calm throughout the tournament and they’ve looked really good,” Pollock concluded.