The Gujarat Titans beat the Rajasthan Royals by 37 runs to go top of the IPL table.
RR won the toss and opted to bowl first and that is what GT skipper Hardik Pandya would have done too had he called right.
GT lost the wickets of Wade, Gill and Shankar early but the manner in which Pandya consolidated and then attacked during his innings of 87 (52 balls) showed just why he is such a precious resource for India.
With GT three wickets down for 53, Pandya had a task on his hands but in the company of Abhinav Manohar (43 off 28), he first helped the innings get back on track and then with David Miller (31 off 14), he took the total to 192/4.
It will be essentially heartening for GT to see how the team responded despite lowing quick wickets early on.
From a bowling perspective, no one really stood out for RR. Chahal and R Ashwin were their most economical bowlers but even they conceded runs at 8 and over.
In reply, RR got off to a blinder thanks to the in-form Jos Buttler, who hammered a 54 off 24 balls but unfortunately, he was their only batter to get going.
Devdutt Padikkal was dismissed for a duck by the left-arm seamer Yash Dayal and that was a big blow for the RR line-up.
RR didn’t help themselves by sending R Ashwin up the order at No 3 either. With Buttler going well, Samson would have had the time to settle in. But with Ashwin making 8 off 8 balls before being dismissed one might say the experiment wasn’t quite the success that RR were hoping for.
Then, Lockie Ferguson produced a superb slower-ball yorker to end Buttler’s magnificent knock.
Things got worse when Samson was run out soon after. He hit the ball straight to Pandya and set off for a quick single. But the GT skipper was alert to the possibility and his direct hit not only broke the stump and also put a spanner in the works for RR.
The chase just didn’t take off after that and Pandya added to their agony by taking a wicket to finish his allround show. RR’s innings eventually ended on 155/9.
From the bowling perspective, Ferguson was in fine form for GT. The Kiwi pacer claimed 3/23. Rashid Khan was his usual economical self too but he didn’t take any wicket.