Home advantage at the Indian Premier League reigned supreme once again as the Gujarat Titans romped home to a seven-wicket win against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday.

Having won the toss and deciding to bat first, the Hyderabad side posted 163/8 on a sweltering hot Ahmedabad afternoon. Travis Head and Mayank Agarwal got things off to a flyer until the Afghan spin duo of Noor Ahmed and Rashid Khan along with Azmatullah Omarzai pulled things back in the middle.

Abhishek Sharma and Heinrich Klaasen, the heroes of the record-breaking innings against Mumbai Indians, made decent contributions, but the pitch that had helped the openers during the Powerplay starting slowing down. In the end, the sixth-wicket partnership between Abdul Samad and Shahbaz Ahmed helped Hyderabad post a competitive total.

The home side began the chase well with captain Shubman Gill striking 36 off 28 balls before departing in an unlikely fashion, mistiming a slice and Samad holding on to the catch. However, impact player Sai Sudarshan along with David Miller put on a brilliant 64-run partnership for the third wicket and ensured that Gujarat pocketed the two points with ease.

Turning point of the match

Until the 15th over, Hyderabad were on course for a win. Pat Cummins had marshalled his troops well enough and the asking rate for Gujarat was climbing to nine runs per over. Despite Miller and Sudarshan looking settled enough, the target looked difficult to achieve.

Then came Mayank Markande for his third over. Prior to bowling the 16th over, he had conceded only nine runs in two overs and taken the wicket of Gill.

But unfortunately for the spinner, Miller and Sudarshan had decided that he was going to be their guinea pig and chose his over to accelerate in the chase.

The over began with a wide, which was a sign of things to come.

Then Miller turned on beast mode and smashed two back-to-back boundaries – finding the gap between long-on and deep midwicket, and then hitting one over extra cover.

Another wide, a single and then Sudarshan had the strike. A few steps down the pitch and the impact player came true to his role, hitting a six over long-on.

Markande’s misery wasn’t done yet as Miller rounded off the over with a six as well, taking 24 runs off one over and completely changing the odds in the favour of the home side.

The Field’s Player of the match

Whenever Gill has needed something to happen, he turned to his strike bowler in Mohit Sharma. The 35-year-old medium pacer usually comes towards the latter half of the innings and delivers a mix of point-blank range yorkers and slower balls with impeccable consistency. His efforts of 3/25 in four overs is what makes Sharma The Field’s Player of the match.

Helped by the likes of Noor Ahmed and Rashid, Sharma himself needed to stick to things and that is what he did. In the final over of the match, he broke the Samad-Shahbaz partnership and stifled Washington Sundar, Hyderabad’s impact substitute, ultimately conceding only three runs.

As Cummins said to the host broadcasters, the score posted by Hyderabad was slightly below-par and for a team that just posted the highest-ever total in an IPL a few days ago, Sharma was solid in his entire spell.

‘I practice what I do generally’

In his comments during the post-match presentation ceremony, Gill was full of praise for Sharma.

“It’s not easy to bowl three to four overs back-to-back in this heat,” said the Gujarat Titans captain.

It was Sharma’s spell that earned him the official Player of the Match award and it was also him that allowed for Gujarat Titans to peg back the much vaulted Hyderabad batting line-up.

Not only was Sharma able to take advantage of the pitch that continue to slow down as the innings wore on, his consistency was such that he only conceded one boundary – a six in his third over that Samad struck over the long-on boundary.

The important thing is knowing when to use the variation and being ahead of the batter. Because when you’re ready with two balls, the batter is also ready. So you need to play with one fielder’s position to deceive the batter. They may be ready for the slower bouncer, but they’re not ready for the slower ball slightly wide. For night games, we practice with a wet ball to deal with dew. But in these situations, these things are uncontrollable, so the bowler’s mindset matters more.

— – Mohit Sharma during the post-match presentation ceremony

Points table

Position Team Played Won Lost NRR Points
1 CSK 2 2 0 1.979 4
2 KKR 2 2 0 1.047 4
3 RR 2 2 0 0.800 4
4 GT 3 2 1 -0.738 4
5 SRH 3 1 2 0.204 2
6 LSG 2 1 1 0.025 2
7 PBKS 3 1 2 -0.337 2
8 RCB 3 1 2 -0.711 2
9 DC 2 0 2 -0.528 0
10 MI 2 0 2 -0.925 0