Exploiting the bounce on offer at the DY Patil Stadium track on Tuesday evening, Punjab Kings fast bowler Kagiso Rabada produced a fine performance to halt Gujarat Titans’ winning run in the Indian Premier League. (IPL 2022 full coverage)
Providing crucial breakthroughs, the star South African pacer took four wickets, ensuring that Titans’ innings never picked up momentum. The total of 143/8 proved inadequate for their bowlers to defend against the left-handed pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Bhanuka Rajapaksa as Titans captain Hardik Pandya’s decision to bat backfired and PBKS won by eight wickets. The two added 87 runs off 59 balls for the second wicket to take the total to 97 before Rajapaksa fell for 40. Titans needed 47 off 48 balls at that point.
The seasoned Dhawan batted sensibly to take the total to 117/2 after 15 overs before Liam Livingstone finished the game with three sixes and a four in the 16th over bowled by Mohammed Shami to power Kings to victory. Dhawan remained unbeaten on 62 (53b, 8×4, 1×6). It was a much-needed win for Kings, the two points taking their tally to 10 and lifting them to fifth on the table. Titans stay atop the table with 16 points (8 wins, 2 losses).
Shami provided Titans an early breakthrough by removing Jonny Bairstow, who had replaced skipper Mayank Agarwal as opener. Dhawan and Rajapaksa though hit a flurry of fours to keep up the pressure on Titans. They smashed nine fours and a six to bring up 50 in 6.2 overs with Dhawan on 30 (23b) and Rajapaksa on 19 (9b).
Titans captain Pandya surprised everyone by opting to bat on winning the toss, becoming the first captain to do so in a night game this season. Titans sit on top of the points table with their chase masters excelling every time, but Tuesday’s experiment flopped as Pandya’s bowlers struggled to grip the ball due to heavy dew.
Young batter Sai Sudarshan played a lone hand for Titans. The 20-year-old left-hander held the innings together with a 50-ball unbeaten 65 to give his bowlers something to bowl at. Known for their ability to trade in boundaries, on Tuesday, Pandya and Co couldn’t get their hitting range.
After their openers Shubman Gill and Wriddhiman Saha hit a combined five fours and one six, Sudarshan was the only one who was able to find the boundaries, helping himself to five fours and one six. Of the other seven who batted, only Lockie Ferguson hit one four, a top-edge off Rabada.
It was a rare day of struggle for some of the big names. Pandya scored one off seven balls while power-hitters David Miller and Rahul Tewatia scored 11 each. There was a phase when Titans couldn’t get a boundary for 47 balls. Sudarshan broke the shackles on the fourth ball of the 12th over when with he hit Livingstone for four.
The Titans No 3 reaped the rewards by mostly sticking to copybook batting. He focussed on getting into a good position to play the shots which helped him accumulate runs on a pitch which helped the bowlers. Only in the last over did he experiment by playing the ramp shot against Arshdeep Singh. In his fifth-wicket partnership with Rahul Tewatia of 45 runs (30 balls), the latter’s contribution was just 11 runs.