Hardik Pandya led from the front with a brilliant unbeaten 87 (52b, 8x4, 4x6) to set up a comprehensive 37-run win for Gujarat Titans over Rajasthan Royals at the D.Y. Patil Stadium here on Thursday.
His knock helped Titans post 192 for four before the bowling attack, led by pacer Lockie Ferguson (3/23), did the job of defending the total despite Jos Buttler’s heroics in the PowerPlay.
It could have been a different story for Royals whose chase started sensationally when Buttler laid the platform with a brutal onslaught, scoring 54 off just 24 balls (8x4, 3x6).
The opener slammed three boundaries in the first over off Mohammed Shami before launching into debutant left-arm pacer Yash Dayal.
The youngster felt the brunt of Buttler’s hitting, being driven through covers, pulled over the leg-side and scooped over fine-leg.
The Englishman took Dayal for five boundaries and two sixes over two overs and got to his half-century with a scoop six off Ferguson over fine-leg. However, the Kiwi bowler had the last laugh as he castled Buttler with a brilliant slow yorker the very next ball at the end of the sixth over.
After that, Royals struggled to find any momentum, losing wickets regularly, it was virtually over for the former champion once Shimron Hetmyer’s cameo of 29 ended.
Earlier, Hardik was ably supported by Abhinav Manohar (43), with whom he added 86 runs off just 55 balls for the fourth-wicket.
David Miller finally struck form with a quickfire unbeaten 31 (14b, 5x4, 1x6) to give the innings the final flourish.
Asked to bat first, Titans got off poorly, reduced to 15 for two by the third over, losing opener Matthew Wade and Vijay Shankar.
Skipper Hardik who walked in at No. 4 however wasted no time in finding the boundaries as he slammed pacer Kuldeep Sen for three fours in the fifth over to get his innings started.
After consolidating for a while, Hardik and Abhinav cut loose against Yuzvendra Chahal and R. Ashwin. They put pressure on the Royals’ bowlers who missed the services of Trent Boult.
The India all-rounder continued to be severe on Kuldeep Sen, slamming the pacer for two more boundaries in the 14th over to reach his second consecutive half-century.
Abhinav was impressive against leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal in particular, hitting him for a couple of sixes and a boundary, keeping the momentum alive through the middle overs.
Miller then finished off the innings in style hitting Kuldeep Sen — who had a miserable day — for 20 runs in the 19th over.
GUJARAT TITANS Matthew Wade run out 12 (6b, 3x4), Shubman Gill c Hetmyer b Parag 13 (14b, 2x4), Vijay Shankar c Samson b Kuldeep Sen 2 (7b), Hardik Pandya (not out) 87 (52b, 8x4, 4x6), Abhinav Manohar c R. Ashwin b Chahal 43 (28b, 4x4, 2x6), David Miller (not out) 31 (14b, 5x4, 1x6); Extras (w-3, nb-1): 4; Total (for four wkts. in 20 overs): 192.
FALL OF WICKETS 1-12 (Wade, 1.2 overs), 2-15 (Vijay Shankar, 2.5), 3-53 (Gill, 6.4), 4-139 (Abhinav, 15.5).
ROYALS BOWLING Neesham 3-0-29-0, Prasidh 4-0-35-0, Kuldeep Sen 4-0-51-1, Chahal 4-0-32-1, Parag 1-0-12-1, R. Ashwin 4-0-33-0.
RAJASTHAN ROYALS Jos Buttler b Ferguson 54 (24b, 8x4, 3x6), Devdutt Padikkal c Gill b Dayal 0 (1b), R. Ashwin c Miller b Ferguson 8 (8b, 1x6), Sanju Samson run out 11 (11b, 1x6), Rassie van der Dussen c Wade b Dayal 6 (10b), Shimron Hetmyer c Tewatia b Shami 29 (17b, 2x4, 1x6), Riyan Parag c Shubman b Ferguson 18 (16b, 1x4, 1x6), James Neesham c & b Hardik 17 (15b, 1x4), Prasidh Krishna (not out) 4 (7sb); Yuzvendra Chahal c Vijay Shankar b Dayal 5 ( 8b); Kuldeep Sen (not out) 0 ( 3b); Extras (lb-1, w-2): 3; Total (for nine wkts. in 20 overs): 155.
FALL OF WICKETS 1-28 (Padikkal, 1.6), 2-56 (R. Ashwin, 5.1), 3-65 (Buttler, 5.6), 4-74 (Samson, 7.3), 5-90 (van der Dussen, 10.3), 6-116 (Hetmyer, 12.5), 7-138 (Parag, 15.6), 8-147 (Neesham, 17.2), 9-155 (Chahal, 19.3).
TITANS BOWLING Shami 4-0-39-1, Dayal 4-0-40-3, Rashid 4-0-24-0, Ferguson 4-0-23-3, Tewatia 1-0-9-0, Hardik 2.3-0-18-1, Vijay Shankar 0.3-0-1-0.
Toss: RR; MoM: Hardik.
Titans won by 37 runs.