Sanjay Manjrekar believes that the Gujarat Titans (GT) erred tactically by picking Dasun Shanaka over Matthew Wade for the Qualifier 1 clash against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Tuesday, May 23.

Manjrekar feels that GT shouldn’t have picked Shanaka if they didn’t have any intentions of making him bowl. The former cricketer suggested that Wade would have been a better option, given that a left-handed batter would have made things tougher for Ravindra Jadeja.

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo after GT’s 15-run loss, Sanjay Manjrekar explained:

“Dasun Shanaka’s inclusion has been a strange one if he wasn’t ever going to bowl. Today was an excellent opportunity to use him as a bowler if they had that in mind. So, if that was the case, you would think Matthew Wade would have been a better choice, a left-hand batter at the top. Then what would have happened is that Ravindra Jadeja would have bowled his three overs with such ease.”

Defending champions Gujarat failed to chase down CSK’s 173-run target, getting bundled out for 157. Shanaka couldn’t get going, scoring 17 off 16 balls before getting out in the 11th over.

It is worth mentioning that the Gujarat-based franchise roped in Shanka as a replacement for Kane Williamson. The Kiwi skipper suffered an on-field injury in the IPL 2023 opener and was ruled out of the tournament.

However, Shanaka hasn’t made a significant impact so far, mustering just 26 runs across three innings. Wade, on the other hand, is yet to feature in a single game in IPL 2023.

“Not surprised that the Yellow Army of Chennai got to their feet and roared” – Tom Moody on GT opener Shubman Gill’s dismissal

During the aforementioned discussion, Tom Moody highlighted that Shubman Gill’s dismissal in Qualifier 1 propelled Chennai into the pole position.

Moody claimed that in-form Gill was Gujarat’s best bet and would have possibly helped them clinch victory had he been at the crease for a longer time.

“It was a massive wicket,” Moody said. “You’ve got the form player of the opposition side, one of the form players of the tournament. He scored two hundreds in the tournament, which is a phenomenal thing. These are T20 hundreds, that ain’t come along that often.”

“He is one of India’s rising superstars,” he added. “I am not surprised that the Yellow Army of Chennai got to their feet and roared when that wicket fell. Because he was one player that could have marshalled the troops to the very end and get them over the line.”

Gill, who came into this contest on the back of two consecutive centuries, was the top run-scored for Gujarat, scoring 42 runs in 38 balls. Tom Moody pointed out that the batter’s knock showed how challenging the surface was, elaborating:

“Shubman Gill’s innings highlighted how challenging the surface was to play freely on. He got 42 off 38 balls. He played some beautiful shots, particularly when the ball was newer. But he didn’t find it that easy to play with great freedom as we saw him do a couple of nights ago, where he struck at 200.”

While Hardik Pandya and Co. suffered a heartbreaking defeat in Qualifier 1, they still have another chance to book a final berth. Gujarat will feature in Qualifier 2 alongside the winner of the Eliminator between the Mumbai Indians (MI) and the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) for a place in the final.

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