Gujarat Titans are topping the table due to these two players who have 23 scalps each between two of them
Chandigarh: Jugalbandi is a musical expression but when Mohammad Shami and Rashid Khan, the duo, who have 26 scalps between the two of them and both play for Gujarat Titans, are at work between the 22-yards epicentre of the Indian Premier League, one is forced to use the musical expression.
Shami hails from the backwaters of Amroha in Uttar Pradesh and Rashid Khan comes from Jalalabad in Afghanistan. Religion apart, both have little in common except that Shami grew up on the famous Amroha mangoes while Rashid ate Jalalabad oranges. And yes, both can bear the scorching sun of the Indian summers.
These two players are the reason why GT is at the top of the table in IPL 2023. Like for years, Chennai Super Kings CSK had MS Dhoni clobbering a few sixes towards the end, and winning matches for his team singlehandedly from an impossible situation, Shami and Rashid have put their team ahead from an even-handed situation due to their bowling.
Shami’s run-up is on the slower side as if he is thinking on his way where to bowl the ball, but as soon as the ball leaves his hand it pierces into the batsman like an arrow. And Rashid’s run-up and the jump gives an impression of a seamer which gives him speed but the devil lies in the detail — his action for the googly and the leg break is the same — bowling both the deliveries from the back of his hand and that makes him so lethal.
On May 2, Shami ran through the Delhi Capitals taking 4 scalps for 11 runs. On May 15, it was the Sunrisers Hyderabad batsmen who were totally clueless about Shami’s bowling. By the fifth over they were at 29/4. After 13 matches with 23 wickets, Shami is picking wickets at an average of 16.74 and an economy of 7.55.
Even before Shami hit his form, Rashid on April 9, took a hat-trick against the Kolkata Knight Riders KKR removing Andre Russell, Sunil Narine and Shardul Thakur but not before giving 35 runs in three overs. Rashid’s 23 wickets have come at an average of 16.78 and an economy of 8.04, though, in a match against Mumbai Indians on May 12, GT were unlucky despite Rashid’s 4 for 30 runs and a blitzkrieg 79 of 32 deliveries.
As we near the second half of the IPL 2023, the jugalbandi of these two players is what could upset the applecart of the other teams Gujarat Titans are likely to face.