Gujarat Titans, one of the two debutants, set the pace, then kept winning, including a seven-wicket win against Rajasthan Royals in Qualifier 1. And they meet again, for the third time this season. Hardik Pandya & Co. have a 2-0 lead. But the stakes are a lot higher this time.
The Sanju Samson-leg Royals registered a comfortable seven-wicket win against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Qualifier 2 to seal their first final spot in 14 years. They were the inaugural champions under Shane Warne in 2008.
The Gujarat Titans vs Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2022 final will feature some of the finest talents in world cricket, and the team that plays better cricket on the day will lift the trophy. But the clash will also witness some mini-battles.
Here's a look at the key usual match-ups before the IPL 2022 final
Gujarat Titans: In Wriddhiman Saha and Shubman Gill, Gujarat Titans have two openers who are the antithesis of each other. Saha has got the license to go broke from the word go, while Gill usually takes a cautious approach even though numbers may tell a different story. In ten matches, Saha has scored 312 at a strike rate of 123.80; while Gill has got 438 at 136.02.
Rajasthan Royals: Jos Buttler is in a league of his own. 824 runs in 16 matches, with the help of four centuries and four fifties at 151.47. But Rajasthan Royals haven't found a perfect ally for the Englishman. Young Yashasvi Jaiswal has done his bit, scoring 236 in nine matches at 132.58.
Rajasthan Royals, mainly due to Buttler, have the upper hand here.
Gujarat Titans: David Miller, who until recently was billed as a wasted talent, has not only revived his career but also given the seemingly fragile Gujarat Titans middle order the life to flourish in the very demanding IPL. Together with Rahul Tewatia, skipper Hardik Pandya and even Rashid Khan, the Protea star turned losing matches into wins. He has scored 449 runs in 15 matches at a strike rate of 141.19.
Rajasthan Royals: Thanks to Jos Buttler's brilliance, Rajasthan Royals' middle-order has not been tested as much as they would have liked to. And whenever they get the chance, they failed. RR even tried promoting Ravichandran Ashwin up the order. In the final, the former champions will hope for the likes of Samson, Devdutt Padikkal, Shimron Hetmyer and Riyan Parag to contribute. Samson has scored 444 runs at a strike rate of 147.50.
Gujarat Titans' middle-order has been tested so many times, and they have a clear advantage.
Gujarat Titans: Well, there is Rashid Khan. And he can do the damage like no other in world cricket today. The Afghan maestro's four overs will decide the outcome of the final. That's the general agreement. He has 18 wickets in 15 matches, but the economy is 6.73, best for the bowlers in top-20 wicket-takers. Rookie Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore is also playing his part with vital spells.
Rajasthan Royals: They have the most experienced spin pair in Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal. The former has so far failed to make a mark with the ball. His 12 scalps in 16 matches pale in comparison to other spinners, but he remains a threat, as usual. And what abuot Chahal. He is the joint-highest wicket-taker with Wanindu Hasaranga - 26 in 16 matches each.
It's Rashid Khan vs Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal. Tough to pick the winner.
Gujarat Titans: In Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson, Alzarri Joseph and Hardik Pandya, Rajasthan Royals have one fine pace attack. Yash Dayal is also quietly making his mark. Shami, however, remains their biggest weapon. He has 19 wickets in 15 matches.
Rajasthan Royals: They also have a balanced pace attack, but only Prasidh Krishna and Trent Boult looked consistent. Obed McCoy was however brilliant in the Qualifier 2, claiming three wickets. Krishna, with 18 wickets in 16, will be the key bowler.
Gujarat Titans have a slight edge. Pandya has the knack of breaking stands, and Shami is peerless.
But don't discount other players. Each team is an ensemble of stars.
Gujarat Titans: Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Shubman Gill, Matthew Wade, Hardik Pandya (c), David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Alzarri Joseph, Yash Dayal, Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson, Pradeep Sangwan, Varun Aaron, Jayant Yadav, Vijay Shankar, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Abhinav Manohar, Sai Sudharsan, Darshan Nalkande, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Dominic Drakes, Noor Ahmad.
Rajasthan Royals: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson (c & wk), Devdutt Padikkal, Shimron Hetmyer, Riyan Parag, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Prasidh Krishna, Obed McCoy, Yuzvendra Chahal, Karun Nair, James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Corbin Bosch, Navdeep Saini, KC Cariappa, Daryl Mitchell, Tejas Baroka, Kuldip Yadav, Anunay Singh, Kuldeep Sen, Dhruv Jurel, Shubham Garhwal.