Tewatia finishes another chase after Gill’s match-defining 67
Shubman Gill felt at home in Mohali as he headlined the third win of the season for the defending champions with a fine 67 off 49 balls. At a venue where he’s grown up playing his cricket and has his highest IPL score, Gill stood tall amidst tough batting conditions to take his team close to the finish line. Despite Sam Curran’s best efforts in the final over, PBKS fell short in their defence of a sub-par total of 153 for 8.
Sam Curran’s best efforts? How so?
Despite conditions being a little tough for run-making, Gujarat Titans were in complete control of the chase all the way until the penultimate over where Arshdeep Singh returned and conceded just six runs. It left Sam Curran to defend seven in the final over with Gill and David Miller in the middle. Curran however, cleaned up the half-centurion on the second ball to give PBKS hopes of a late, late heist. Miller, who struggled to middle the ball in his 18-ball stay, turned the strike over to Rahul Tewatia when the equation was down to 4 runs needed off 2 balls. Curran had a mini-conference with Arshdeep and Shikhar Dhawan but it didn’t yield the desired result as Tewatia shuffled across and lapped a shot over short fine leg to cap off the chase.
Back to the first innings…
PBKS’ stuttered start
Punjab Kings’ plan of throwing their bats around from the start was on but their flying start was clipped by a wicket in the first over – of Prabhsimran Singh – and that of the orange cap holder Shikhar Dhawan. The PBKS captain tried to hit over mid-on and miscued his chip off Joshua Little to get caught by Alzarri Joseph for a run-a-ball 8 – his first single-digit score this season. Despite Dhawan’s early exit, PBKS were buoyed by Matthew Short’s crisp strokeplay as he cut and drove his way to 35 off 22 in the first six overs
Rashid Khan kickstarts PBKS downfall
Short looked in control against the GT quicks but failed to read the first googly coming his way from Rashid and was comprehensively bowled to trudge back for 36 off 24 balls. Jitesh Sharma was able to read Rashid’s variations better as he pulled and paddled against the spinner to get three fours. But the struggle for him – and Bhanuka Rajapaksa – came against the pacers as Mohit Sharma and Alzarri Joseph through the middle overs. Between overs 7 and 15, PBKS scored just at just 5.22 runs an over. Despite hitting five fours, Jitesh managed just 25 off 23 balls while Rajapaksa suffered throughout his scratchy stay before Alzarri Joseph dismissed him for 20 off 26 balls. In his first IPL outing since 2019, Mohit made an impactful return, finishing with a spell of 2 for 13 in 4 overs that included the wickets of Jitesh and Sam Curran – who fell for a run-a-ball 22.
A late lift courtesy Shahrukh cameo
Rajapaksa’s exit inadvertently sparked life into PBKS’ essay as Shahrukh Khan walked out and walloped a 147kmph delivery from Joseph for a six over deep square leg and dragged the team past the 150-run mark with a cameo of 22 runs from just 9 balls.
A fast start to chase ft. Saha and Gill
Shubman Gill made a pristine start to chase when he drove the third ball from Arshdeep in the first over through covers for the first of his 7 boundaries in the chase. Wriddhiman Saha too made a courageous start as he meted out the same treatment to Kagiso Rabada in the second over. The wicketkeeper-batter then hit four fours in Arshdeep’s second over but Rabada ended his early flourish with a short ball. Saha went for the pull but ended up having to clear the longer square boundary and failed – hitting straight to Short at deep square leg. With that wicket, Rabada became the fastest to 100 IPL scalps, getting there in 64 innings.
Like PBKS, GT too saw their scoring slow down amidst testing conditions and big square boundaries. From 80/1 in 10 overs, GT limped to 111/3 in 15 as Curran and Arshdeep once again put the pressure to keep PBKS in the game.
Gill steers the chase back on track
The see-sawing fixture then had Gill putting GT back on top in a three-over period where he lofted Rahul Chahar over cover to get his half-century, hit Curran down the ground and then played an exquisite pull shot off Rabada for a six in a 12-run 18th over. This over tilted the fixture strongly in Gill and GT’s favour until Arshdeep and Curran took it to the very end.
Brief Scores: Punjab Kings 153/8 (Matthew Short 36; Mohit Sharma 2-18, Rashid Khan 1-26) lost to Gujarat Titans 154/4 (Shubman Gill 67, Wriddhiman Saha 30; Sam Curran 1-25) by 6 wickets
What next for the teams?
Punjab Kings have just a day’s break before taking on LSG in Lucknow in the evening fixture on Saturday. Gujarat Titans head back home to face Rajasthan Royals on Sunday.