Gujarat Titans had its revenge on Friday. And it came fast.
Hardik Pandya’s men outplayed Rajasthan Royals in their reverse IPL fixture at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, avenging the three-wicket loss at Ahmedabad. The win also consolidated their position at the top of the table.
After bowling out the host for 118, with the Afghan 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.
Openers Shubman Gill (36, 35b, 6x4), playing as the Impact Player, and Wriddhiman Saha (41 not out, 34b, 5x4) put on 71. After Gill got stumped off Yuzvendra Chahal, skipper Hardik Pandya (39 not out, 15b, 3x4, 3x6) walked in. He was a man in a hurry as 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 bigger. For, Yashasvi Jaiswal is in the form of his life and was shaping up well again when he was run out in a mix-up with his captain.
Before the slow men 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 Mohammed Shami over deep fine-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 saw Jaiswal fall 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 cover. The promotion of R. Ashwin did not quite work, as his off-stump was knocked back by Rashid, who went on to finish with three for 14. Trent Boult was the second-highest scorer with 15. That summed up Royals’ tragic tale.