- admin | May 4, 2022 | 12:29 am
A stifling bowling show, led by Kagiso Rabada’s four-for and figures of 4-0-17-0 from Sandeep Sharma, restricted table-toppers Gujarat Titans to a below-par 143 and revived Punjab Kings’ campaign for the playoffs race. Shikhar Dhawan, Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Liam Livingstone made short work of the chase which they sealed with as many as four overs to spare, and lifted Kings from eighth to fifth spot on the table. More importantly, their net run rate was boosted from -0.470 to -0.229. Titans experimented with the decision of opting to bat but could not stitch any substantial partnerships with regular fall of wickets.
It was Sai Sudharsan’s maiden fifty that steered them from 67 for 4 in the 12th over towards 150, but like captain Hardik Pandya said later, “obviously we were not even close to par”.The early strangle from Kings’ bowlers. Rabada takesShubman Gill’s poor recent form and the lack of a stable batter at No. 3 had been troubling Titans, and their issues were compounded on Tuesday. Wridhhiman Saha swung for the hills down the ground for a stroke-filled 21 off 17 but he and Gill fell in consecutive overs.
Saha swung the next ball for a one-bounce four and hammered a six next over, but he swung one too many when he miscued Rabada to mid-off in the fourth over. Rabada, Eight overs without a boundary. The King’s bowlers not only struck regularly, but they also dried up the boundaries. Sandeep stuck to the length and short-of-good length areas just outside off with a hint of swing and the others, too, bowled to their fields so well that the Titans couldn’t score a boundary for 48 balls. Hardik Pandya crawled to Rabada 1 off six balls before edging one behind after the powerplay ended.
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Rabada takes 4 wickets and takes the match from Table Topper GT
Rahul Chahar then hurt his bowling hand in his first over while collecting a throw from the deep and he walked off immediately. Livingstone completed the over and then got one more, also because he could bowl off-breaks to two left-hand batters with the longer boundary on the leg side. He barely offered any room, and when David Miller tried to end the boundary-less streak, he found long-off for 11 and Titans were 67 for 4. Sudharsan’s maiden fifty lifts Titans. It was almost as if 20-year-old Sudharsan flicked a switch on for boundaries once Miller fell.
He pounced on the short balls and collected fours in consecutive overs off Rishi, Livingstone and the returning Chahar and then one down the ground off Arshdeep Singh to race to 45. Even though Rabada choked the lower order with back-to-back wickets of Rahul Tewatia and Rashid Khan in the 17th over, Sudharsan pulled Arshdeep for six to bring up his fifty and lead Titans to a more respectable 143 for 8. Dhawan, Rajapaksa go bang, bang. Chasing a below-par total on a pitch that was two-paced and had good bounce for the quicks.
Mayank Agarwal chose to drop himself down further and sent left-hand batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa at No. 3. Shikhar had already dispatched two wide balls for back-to-back fours against his Delhi team-mate Pradeep Sangwan and he found able support in Rajapaksa who struck Shami for two fours when the fast bowler pitched it even slightly short in the third over. Alzarri Joseph came on for Sangwan and got the same treatment. Shikhar ramped him for six and followed it with a tickle down the leg side for four more.
He continued to target the off-side boundary and the big over came when Sangwan returned as soon as the powerplay ended. Rajapaksa heaved him for two fours in two balls before Shikhar unleashed another upper cut to make it a 15-run over and reduce the equation to a comfortable 86 off 78.Dhawan, Livingstone give NRR boost. The situation was such that Kings could have cautiously seen through Rashid’s spell and still won. Shikhar was happy to rotate the strike until Lockie Ferguson returned for an eventful over.