IPL 2022: KL Rahul vs. Hardik Pandya in the debutants clash as the Lucknow Super Giants take on the Gujarat Titans


KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya will take to the field for the first time as opposing captains in the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) when new signings Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans meet in Mumbai on Monday.

Coffee controversy: Over three years ago, both KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya were embroiled in a controversy after their sexist comments on “Koffee with Karan” drew backlash. Cut to 2022, both friends go into the 15th season of the IPL with captain’s armbands.

Pandya and Rahul have been suspended and sent home from India’s tour of Australia after their sexist comments on “Koffee with Karan” sparked a backlash. Later, on January 24, 2019, the BCCI lifted the suspensions effective immediately. After the incident, Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul both made comebacks in the team. Both Hardik Pandya (Mumbai Indians) and KL Rahul (Punjab Kings) were their respective teams’ standout players in Season 12 of the IPL.

Captain’s Battle: The Gujarat Titans would be banking heavily on the performance of their skipper, Hardik Pandya, who has plenty of experience Wankhede with the Mumbai Indians. Hardik, known for his six-stroke skills, needs to take more responsibility with the racquet this season and also hit higher up the racket.

For Lucknow, much depends on her skipper KL Rahul, who spearheads the second franchise after Punjab Kings. With a wide range of shots at his disposal, the LSG skipper can subdue any attack. LSG mentor Gambhir had made it clear that Lucknow KL need Rahul, the batsman who also runs the team, instead of the captain who will also bat in the upcoming edition of IPL.

could hit: Shubman Gill and Afghan slugger Rahmanullah Gurbaz are likely to open for Gujarat. The duo can deal with any opponent’s attack, but they have to be careful before the impact at the Wankhede Stadium. Rahul Tewatia would have to shed his one-match IPL miracle label. Another key all-rounder for them is Vijay Shankar and his four overs with his medium pace could also make the difference. Someone like Karnataka’s Abhinav Manohar would have to assume responsibility in the middle order along with David Miller.

Much depends on her skipper KL Rahul and South African Quinton De Kock for Lucknow. Lucknow also have a number of all-rounders in Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya and West Indian Jason Holder and their role with the middle order at-bat alongside Manish Pandey, a veteran fighter, is crucial. Another team management option is Evin Lewis, an explosive hitter.

Bowling Firepower: Key pacesetter Mohammed Shami will lead the bowling attack and would be looking for a successful run to make a strong case for inclusion in India’s squad for the World Cup in Australia later this year. Another major cog in their wheel is leggy Rashid Khan, who might enjoy bowling at the Wankhede track.

Avesh Khan-led bowlers would need to roll tight to stop Gujarat batters, and another key cog in their wheel is Ravi Bishnoi, who can fool batters with his googlies. It remains to be seen whether the team lead will play an extra pacer or a spinner, and considering the first game was a low points affair and Tau played a role, the team that wins the toss would go for it, first to beat.

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