It has been a stellar season for the Gujarat Titans. On paper, they may not look to be the strongest side, but they’ve pulled several rabbits out of their hat in the 2022 IPL. Whenever a loss has seemed to be imminent, the Titans have found some player or the other raise his hand and lead them to victory.
Rahul Tewatia, David Miller and Rashid Khan have done it with the bat on more than one occasion; on Tuesday, Rashid the bowler did the star turn for the Titans against Lucknow Super Giants at the MCA International Stadium in Pune.
AS IT HAPPENED | SCORECARD | POINTS TABLE
Just recently, Brian Lara, the current batting coach of Rashid’s former team Sunrisers Hyderabad, had said that Rashid “isn’t much of a wicket-taker and only restricts runs”. The wizard from Afghanistan must have made Lara chew his words with a magical 4/24 performance that led Titans to a facile 62-run win, while defending a modest 144/4. Rashid found an able spin partner in left-arm orthodox R Sai Kishore (2/7), as Super Giants were bowled out for only 82.
With Gujarat clinching the battle of the table-toppers, the Hardik Pandya-led side became the first team to enter the playoffs in this year’s IPL.
If the spinners did the trick for Gujarat, the Lucknow pacemen put on a show in the first innings of the game. The ball was set rolling by left-arm fast bowler Mohsin Khan; Dushmantha Chameera made sure there was no let-up; Avesh Khan got the wickets in the middle phase; in the end, Jason Holder ensured there was no massive flourish from the Gujarat batters.
Mohsin, one of the finds of this year’s IPL, bowled the first over and could’ve got the wickets of both openers. The very first ball saw Wriddhiman Saha poke at an away going delivery, and the ball landed just in front of the first slip. The last ball of the over had Shubman Gill play a full-blooded cut, and it went to third man but again landed short of the fielder.
Chameera followed up with a frugal over. In the third over, Mohsin defeated Saha with a well-disguised off-cutter that the Gujarat opener chipped straight to the mid-on fielder. After three overs, Gujarat were 13/1. Matthew Wade came at one drop and hit Chameera for back-to-back boundaries, which increased the scoring rate a bit. The Aussie was playing a shot-a-ball and that proved costly against Avesh. Wade tried to scoop a good length delivery but only managed to bunt it straight into the hands of the keeper.
Hardik Pandya strutted in next, and, in the company of Shubman Gill, brought a semblance of stability to the innings. But Pandya’s stay at the crease was cut short by an away-going lifter from Avesh that the Gujarat skipper slashed hard at, but only managed an edge to the keeper.
Pace out ✌️#SeasonOfFirsts #AavaDe #LSGvGT https://t.co/r5TuhnEjWL— Gujarat Titans (@gujarat_titans) 1652210071000
Gill (63 not out off 49b; 7×4) and David Miller (26 off 24b; 1×4, 1×6) not only had to save the Gujarat innings from further shambles, but also increase the pedestrian run-rate. The duo added 52 for the fourth wicket before Miller slashed a wide slower ball from Holder straight to deep third man.
In the last four overs, Gill and Rahul Tewatia (22 not out off 16b; 4×4) collected 41 runs that pushed the Gujarat total to 144/4. Tewatia, particularly, was severe on Holder in the final over, taking three boundaries off the West Indian.