Batters could dominate
Gill versus Gaikwad
Gujarat Titans v Chennai Super Kings
Monday 28 April, 15:00
TV: Live on Sky Sports
Gujarat bounced back from defeat against Chennai in the first qualifier with a superb performance against Mumbai Indians. They returned to a balance of six bolwers with Josh Little back in the team instead of Dasun Shanaka. They should be unchanged.
But they may need to get the bowling order right. Hardik Pandya in the powerplay was not a good look, particularly as he had a 6-3 offside field and then strayed down leg consistently. Hardik should be a last resort.
Shubmann Gill's century was of the epic variety. Mohammad Shami has a one-wicket lead over Rashid Khan for top tournament wicket-taker. Sportsbook make him 1/31.32 to hold on with Rashid Khan at 10/34.33.
Probable XII: Saha, Gill, Sudarhsan, hardik, SHankar, Miller, Tewatia, Rashid, Shami, Noor, Little, Mohit *Possible sub
Chennai are at it again. This is their ninth final in 13 editions. Betfair Exchange make them 2.01/1 for a fifth title, equalling Mumbai's record.
To do it will they take a gamble on trying to turn Ahmedabad into the Chepauk. Mitchell Santner may be worth more as a solid four overs than Moeen Ali, who is increasingly on the fringes.
There is the option of 12 overs of quality spin for Chennai as they look to stem runs on a probable flat wicket.
Possible XII: Gaikwad, Conway, Rahane, Dube, Rayudu, Jadeja, Dhoni, Santner, D Chahar, Theekshana, Deshpande, Pathirana *Possible sub
There is a 10% chance of rain after the washout on Sunday. It is guess work as to how the downpour affected the surface as there has been more than enough drying time in warm temperatures. We have to assume the status qu but may adjust stakes.
Ahmedabad is a flat one and the team batting first should be targetting a minimum of 190. Gujarat's 233 against Mumbai did look under threat and it required a late show from Mohit Sharma to kill off a spirited chase.
The head-to-head in the first game of the season at this venue is more instructive than the slow pitch which allowed Chennai to triumph in the qualifier.
Gujarat chased 182 with five wickets to spare. The all-time winning average score was 177 but that is ticking up. The average first-innings score has also breached 190.
Gujarat would be the more reliable for an overs play at 186.5 because they have a 0.3 run edge on economy rates with the ball and that is the key metric for us.
How to play
Gujarat are marginal favourites at 1.9720/21 with Chennai 2.01/1. It is a difficult not to reckon that for the second-consecutive game the holders have been underrated on home turf.
And home advantage is key. Chennai are a good all-round unit but consider that away from home they have an average economy rate of 8.1 with the ball compared to 8.8 on the road and that could well be the game.
Another key metric in Gujarat's favour is boundary percentage with the bat. Gujarat are superior - although by a slim margin. It is these small things which could swing the game in Gujarat's favour.
Batting first, on a road they could well be hard to stop and we'd advise betting them if the toss went their way.
Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad each top scored in the two head-to-heads this season. They have been boosted to 12/53.35 and 11/43.70 respectively with Sportsbook. The pair are 6/1 and 8/1 respectively for man of the match.
We should also note on this market MS Dhoni's price. Given the possibility this is his last game and India's manic obsession, Chennai may only need to win with workmanlike performances for the 16/1 to cop.
*Don't miss Ed Hawkins and Paul Krishnamurty LIVE on the @BetfairExchange Twitter handle for in-play angles, trades and tips for the IPL Final