Defending champions Gujarat Titans made it two wins from two to start their 2023 Indian Premier League campaign. In the opening match of the season, they beat Chennai Super Kings, and on Tuesday at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi, they beat Delhi Capitals by six wickets.
Titans’ skipper Hardik Pandya won the toss and opted to bowl first. Powered by Mohammed Shami and Rashid Khan, who ended with figures of 3/41 and 3/31 respectively, the Titans restricted the Capitals to a score of 162/8 in their 20 overs. David Warner (37), Axar Patel (36) and Sarfaraz Khan (30) were the only batters to have reached at least 30 runs.
In response, the Titans chased down the target with six wickets and 11 runs to spare. It was a win that helped highlight the increasingly upbeat atmosphere in the Titans’ dressing room.
“We just tell the boys one thing: just enjoy there. We will be put under pressure but what I like is some smiles, it’s something that is going to help you take the right decision at the (right) time,” Pandya said during the post-match presentation.
“Things are coming up, someone is putting their hand up and getting the team through the period when its required the most. Let’s be happy, let’s enjoy this. The result will take over itself. Whatever happens is okay, but let’s enjoy, be there and take care of each other, that’s more important.”
In the run chase, the Titans lost three of their top four batters rather cheaply. Openers Wriddhiman Saha and Shubman Gill scored 14 each before they were bowled by Anrich Nortje, and Pandya – in at No 4 – scored 5 before being caught by Abisek Porel off a Khaleel Ahmed delivery.
Sai Sudarshan however took control of the innings with a well-paced 62 off 48, with four boundaries and two sixes.
“He’s been batting terrifically. Credit to the support staff and him as well for the amount he’s been batting. All the result you see is from his hard work. Going forward, if I’m not wrong, in the next two years he’s going to do well in franchisee cricket as well as international cricket,” Pandya said about the 21-year-old from Chennai.
Sudarshan was supported by Impact Player Vijay Shankar who scored 29 off 23, before the powerful David Miller came to the crease and scored a quickfire and unbeaten 31 off 16.
The win also highlighted Pandya’s own style of captaincy.
“It’s my instinct. Whatever I feel in that moment, I rather go with that. I like to back myself. At the end of the day, I’ve learned that I’d rather back my own decision and fall rather than thinking something else, predetermine it, and if that doesn’t work then I’ll question my decision. So I’d rather take what I know in the game. I like to make the first punch rather than take the first one,” he added.
This was the Capitals’ second loss in as many games this season. They next play the Rajasthan Royals on April 8, while the Titans host the Kolkata Knight Riders a day later.