Gujarat Titans suffered only their second IPL 2022 defeat on Tuesday as Kagiso Rabada took four wickets for the second match running before Shikhar Dhawan’s half-century led Punjab Kings to a dominant win.
Liam Livingstone smashed three sixes to complete an eight-wicket victory with four overs to spare, moving Punjab up to fifth and stopping league leaders Gujarat from putting one foot in the playoffs.
“We weren’t even close to a par score. A total of 170 would have been ideal, but we kept losing wickets regularly and never came anywhere near it. I backed ourselves with the bat, batting first wasn’t a wrong call, we needed to come out of our comfort zone,” said GT skipper Hardik Pandya in the post-match presentation ceremony.
“We have chased well in this tournament, if required (later in the tournament), we had to know how to set targets. This is part of a learning curve, but this is all about learning to come out of our own comfort zone. We were always talking about getting better even when we were winning, we would talk about things that didn’t go our way today and would look to come back better in the coming games.”
Gujarat won the toss and chose to bat but made just 143/8 as South Africa’s Rabada produced player-of-the-match figures of 4/33.
Gujarat’s only standout was Sai Sudharsan who grounded out a gutsy 65 not out, the 20-year-old’s first half-century of the IPL in only his fourth innings.
The Titans lost both their openers in the power play, with Shubman Gill spectacularly run out for nine in the third over and Wriddhiman Saha caught by a back-pedalling Mayank Agarwal off Rabada.
Gujarat’s top scorer of the season Hardik Pandya fell for just one, failing to move his feet and thick-edging Rishi Dhawan to keeper Jitesh Sharma as he looked to drive.
David Miller tried to get the scoreboard moving, but misjudged Livingstone’s offspin to give Rabada a simple catch on the long-on boundary, departing for 11.
Rahul Tewatia, often the danger man at the end of an innings, also was out for 11, trying to reverse-sweep a wide, slow Rabada ball.
Next ball Rashid Khan edged Rabada to the keeper for a golden duck, and Lockie Ferguson slogged Rabada straight to Livingstone at long-on.
Punjab’s Jonny Bairstow, promoted to No 2, departed for one in the third over, top-edging Mohammed Shami to Pradeep Sangwan at deep fine-leg.
But fellow opener Dhawan and Sri Lankan number three Bhanuka Rajapaksa made quick work of the modest target off Shami, Khan and West Indies pacer Alzarri Joseph.
Rajapaksa hit five fours and a six to make 40 off 28 balls before being trapped leg-before by New Zealand’s Ferguson in the 12th over.
Dhawan’s 62 not out off 53 included eight fours and one six – a ramped shot off a lightning-fast Joseph delivery that was the quickest of the night.
Livingstone then wrapped things up in one Shami over with three sixes in a row – one of which flew 117 metres – and two fours to finish not out 30 off 10 balls.
“I didn’t think I was going to bat at one point tonight so it was nice to go in and hit a few out of the middle,” Livingstone said.
“I thought Shikhar played beautifully to set it up, him and Bhanu (Rajapaksa)... It’s a big win.”
Inputs from AFP