IPL-17, GT vs PBKS | Shashank’s swashbuckling knock helps PBKS pips GT in a thriller

His brilliant, unbeaten 61, complemented by Ashutosh and Jitesh’s knocks, puts into shade Gill’s sublime effort that had propelled the host to a competitive 199

Updated - April 05, 2024 06:13 am IST

Published - April 04, 2024 11:45 pm IST - Ahmedabad

Punjab Kings’ Shashank Singh celebrates the victory over Gujarat Titans during the IPL-17 2024 Gujarat Titans vs Punjab Kings cricket match at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on April 4, 2024.

Punjab Kings’ Shashank Singh celebrates the victory over Gujarat Titans during the IPL-17 2024 Gujarat Titans vs Punjab Kings cricket match at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on April 4, 2024. | Photo Credit: Vinay Soneji

In last December’s IPL auction, Punjab Kings bought Shashank Singh under confusing circumstances. There were two Shashanks in the pool and for a fleeting moment, PBKS thought it had bought the wrong player, tried to take back the bid before accepting him as one of its own.

On April 4, at the Narendra Modi Stadium, the 32-year-old Chhattisgarh batter showed why it was a prudent decision. He scored a swashbuckling unbeaten 61 (29b, 6x4, 4x6) as PBKS chased down a 200-run target against Gujarat Titans with three wickets and a ball to spare.

Shashank was helped in no small measure by Impact Player Ashutosh Sharma (31, 17b, 3x4, 1x6) and Jitesh Sharma (16, 8b, 2x6). GT didn’t aid itself as Umesh Yadav dropped Ashutosh at deep square-leg when he was still on three.

Shashank, who came in at 70 for four, started by smashing Umesh for two fours and a six in the 11th over, before scooping Mohit Sharma over the ’keeper and lofting him over mid-off. It was in fact Mohit who kept GT in the hunt, conceding seven runs in the 15th over and six in the 17th.

But with 62 needed from 30, Jitesh carted Rashid Khan for two maximums over long-on and long-off, and in the 18th over, Ashutosh hit Azmatullah Omarzai for three fours.

Eventually Mohit too wilted under pressure, conceding 18 in the penultimate over. Seven runs were too little for Darshan Nalkande to defend.

Earlier, after being asked to bat, Shubman Gill was at his sublime best (89 n.o., 48b, 6x4, 4x6), and was assisted by B. Sai Sudharsan (33, 19b, 6x4) and Rahul Tewatia (23 n.o., 8b, 3x4, 1x6).

GT was initially hampered by slow approaches from Wriddhiman Saha (11, 13b) and Kane Williamson (26, 22b, 4x4), who replaced the injured David Miller. But Sai Sudharsan produced a breezy knock, peppering the entire arc on the leg-side with fours.

When the left-hander fell at 122 in the 14th over, GT was on the ascendency. Vijay Shankar sucked out some of the momentum (8, 10b) but Gill combined with Tewatia for a manic 35-run partnership off just 14 deliveries. The duo had seemingly knocked PBKS out, only for the away side to rise from the dead.

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