IPL 2023: Emotional homecoming for Hardik Pandya at Wankhede but beating MI won't be easy for GT, says Ravi Shastri

Mumbai, May 12 (IANS) Former India head coach Ravi Shastri reckons it will be an emotional homecoming for Gujarat Titans’ skipper Hardik Pandya, who achieved stardom playing at Wankhede for the Mumbai Indians, but added that defeating five-time champions in their backyard has always been tough for visiting teams.

Friday’s match will see Mumbai’s batting might, who have chased down 200+ scores in their last three games, facing a stiff challenge at home from table-toppers Gujarat’s strong bowling line-up.

“Hardik’s homecoming will be emotional. He will play a crucial match against the team at the ground where he rose to stardom. Hardik would like to prove a lot by leading his team to victory.”

“This match will be really interesting as it will not be easy for GT to beat MI at their home and then MI would like to equalise the defeat in Ahmedabad and take a strong step towards the playoffs,” Shastri was quoted as saying by Star Sports.

Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh cautioned Mumbai to bring their A-Game against a balanced and superior bowling attack of Gujarat. “MI will have to bring their A-Game against GT because the latter’s bowling lineup is very strong. GT has Rashid, Shami and other quality bowlers.”

“Mumbai’s bowling attack, on the other hand, is weaker and they are leaking 200-plus runs. Yes, MI have chased down three consecutive 200-plus totals, but the law of averages might catch up. Also, the toss is going to be very crucial in that game, if MI lose the toss, it will be tough.”

Former India pacer S. Sreesanth believes the match between the two heavyweights will be interesting but commended the way Gujarat management is taking care of the players.

“This match between MI and GT will be very exciting. MI are playing at Wankhede. They will enter this match on the back of a big win.”

“Hardik, on the other hand, is captaining GT brilliantly. Also, the team management of GT puts the team on the field with very good preparation. This team lives in a family ecosystem and it is easy to win in this situation.”

–IANS

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