Half-way through the Gujarat Titans’ chase of 154, it looked like we were in for a one-sided game after an eventful week of thrillers and last-over matches. But this is IPL 2023 and it was the ever-entertaining Gujarat Titans, so there had to be a twist in the tale.
It was a game that the GT would have liked to avoid taking so deep as Hardik Pandya said at the end. Shubman Gill anchored the chase with a 49-ball 67 on a pitch that seemed good for batting but both teams struggled overall. Eventually, it was Rahul Tewatia who stole the limelight with a last-over hit to take his team over the line against Punjab Kings (again).
Like Gill said after the match, “Tewatia and Punjab (Kings) is a love story.”
It was yet another successful run-chase for Gujarat Titans, 11th such win in 12 attempts in the IPL.
Opening the innings, Wriddhiman Saha (30 off 19) looked in good touch and ensured GT were off to a great start. Although Kagiso Rabada, who was returning in this game, dismissed him in the fifth over. GT were in a comfortable spot in the powerplay with 56/1.
Even as Gill seemed to be in the zone, Hardik Pandya (8) and Sai Sudharshan (19) struggled to get going. Sam Curran, who was bowling a quality final over with GT needing seven runs, dismissed Gill in the second delivery. However, Tewatia joined David Miller in the middle as the equation read six off four. In the penultimate delivery off the over, Tewatia scooped one over fine leg to seal the win.
Earlier in the game, after opting to bowl first, Mohit Sharma, with impressive figures of 2/18, made a memorable IPL comeback by helping reduce Punjab Kings to 153 for eight.
GT were off to a great start as Prabhsimran Singh was dismissed for nought in the second ball of the innings. However, Big Bash League star Matthew Short’s 24-ball 36 was the innings’ top score and he was instrumental in ensuring Punjab Kings reached 52/2 in the powerplay.
Joshua Little had provided a significant breakthrough by dismissing in-form Dhawan for eight. Soon after, Rashid Khan, (1/26 in 4 overs), dismissed the well-set Short with a googly with PBKS’s score reading 55 for three in the seventh over.
There was some hope to bring the innings back on track as Jitesh Sharma looked promising but Mohit sent him back for 25. The innings barely took off after that as Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s 26-ball 20 and Sam Curran’s run-a-ball 22 were far from convincing. It was a quick fire nine-ball 22 by Shahrukh Khan that enabled PBKS to surpass 150 after what was a laboured innings otherwise.
Mohit, who was outstanding in the penultimate over, let up just six runs. He was the player of the match as well for his bowling efforts.
Points table after match 18