Titans will hope to get a ticket to dream home final. Royals, meanwhile, will be hoping for a repeat of 2008, when they won the inaugural edition of the IPL.
Two teams with similar approaches will want to give themselves a few extra days of rest ahead of the grand finale. For Gujarat Titans, it’s the opportunity to play in front of a capacity home crowd in Ahmedabad. For Rajasthan Royals, this is a chance to pay a perfect tribute to Shane Warne, who led them to their only title in 2008.
Royals have never finished in the top two since the playoffs came into existence in 2011. Meanwhile, Titans have exceeded expectations and pre-tournament billing to get here. Both sides have punted on their six-batters and five-bowler strategy to the hilt. Their unshakable faith in this core philosophy has brought them much success. That said, not everything is similar. Their approaches have varied. Titans have hit 69 sixes, the least for a team this season. Royals have hit 116, the most.
Titans were written off by many even before a ball was bowled. Their auction strategy was scrutinised. They wondered if Hardik Pandya, fighting his own battles with form and injury, can inspire the new entrants.
One of their openers pulled out of the tournament and their middle order had two rookie batters and an overseas batter who had racked up poor numbers season after season. Yet, nearly seven weeks later, they became the first team to enter the playoffs.