Gujarat Titans had its revenge on Friday. And it came fast.
Hardik Pandya’s men outplayed Rajasthan Royals in their reverse IPL 2023 fixture at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, avenging the three-wicket defeat at Ahmedabad. The win also consolidated their position at the top of the points table.
After bowling out the host for 118, with the Afghan leg-spin duo of Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmad claiming five wickets between them, Titans romped home with nine wickets and 6.1 overs to spare. On a wicket that certainly looked better than what the Royals total suggested, the chase was a walk in the park for Titans.
Shubman Gill (36, 35b, 6x4), playing as the Impact Player, and Wriddhiman Saha (41 n.o., 34b, 5x4) put on 71. After Gill got stumped off Yuzvendra Chahal, skipper Hardik Pandya (39 n.o., 15b, 3x4, 3x6) came in, and he was a man in a hurry. He smashed Adam Zampa for 24 in an over.
In the Royals innings, only one batter reached 30. Sanju Samson was looking good, and his dismissal was a big setback, but that of his second-wicket partner was even bigger. Yashasvi Jaiswal is in the form of his life and was shaping up well once again when he was run-out in a mix-up with his captain.
Before the spinners took over, Hardik had provided the breakthrough; the out-of-form Jos Buttler slashed him and was caught at third-man by Mohit Sharma.
In the next over, Jaiswal indicated that he would be continuing from his 62-ball 124 against Mumbai Indians, as he sent Mohammad Shami over long-leg for a massive six and then hit him for a four through mid-wicket.
A superb diving stop at backward-point by Abhinav Manohar and a throw by Mohit had Jaiswal falling short at the non-striker’s end, after being sent back by his skipper.
Samson’s leading edge off Josh Little ended in Hardik’s hands at covers. The promotion of Ravichandran Ashwin did not quite work, as his off-stump was knocked back by Rashid, who would finish with three for 14. Trent Boult was the second highest-scorer of the innings with 15. That summed up Royas’ tragic tale.
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