To keep their playoff hopes alive, the Punjab Kings defeated the Gujarat Titans.
Shikhar Dhawan hit a magnificent half-century as the error-prone Punjab Kings finally delivered a clinical performance to defeat Gujarat Titans by eight wickets here on Tuesday, ending the IPL table leaders’ five-match winning streak. Pacer Kagiso Rabada took four wickets as Punjab Kings reduced Gujarat Titans to a disappointing 143 for eight after Hardik Pandya chose to bat first. Punjab, who botched what should have been a simple chase in their previous game, learned from their mistakes to pace the innings considerably better and reach the goal in 16 overs.
Dhawan (62 not out off 53 balls) notched his third half-century of the season and was well supported by Sri Lankan Bhanuka Rajapaksa (40 off 28 balls), who delighted with five fours and a six.
As one of the team’s senior batters, Dhawan accepted the burden of completing the game for his team, and he did so with zeal.
Skipper Mayank Agarwal moved down the order to make room for Jonny Bairstow (1) at the top, but the move backfired.
However, an 87-run stand between left-handers Dhawan and Rajapaksa sealed Punjab’s victory.
At the end of the chase, Liam Livingstone (30 not out off 10) hammered elite Indian spinner Mohammad Shami for four sixes, including a huge 117m one over deep square leg. The 16th over, which went for 30 runs, also helped PBKS’ net run rate significantly.
It was a much-needed victory for Punjab, who have struggled to find consistency this season, with five victories and five losses.
It was a timely wake-up call for Gujarat, who are expected to make the playoffs, to address their batting issues, particularly at the top of the order. They’ve had someone come to their aid in the past, but that wasn’t the case on Tuesday.
Earlier, Gujarat’s innings were saved by Sai Sudharsan’s unbeaten 65 off 50 balls, as Punjab bowlers gave only 11 fours and two sixes.
Sudarsan blasted five boundaries and a six, but he ran out of partners as Gujarat skipper Hardik Pandya’s decision to bat backfired.
In the following over, Saha, who had begun aggressively, threw a sitter to opposition skipper Mayank Agarwal at mid-off, giving Rabada (4/33) his maiden wicket. Saha, who had three boundaries and a six, was undone by the additional bounce when he attempted a lofted ball but mistimed it and paid the price.
Gujarat fell to 44/3 as bowler Rishi Dhawan (1/26) took off Hardik (1) early. Hardik attempted to drive an outside-of-off length ball but ended up nicking wicket-keeper Jitesh Sharma, putting his team in serious difficulty.
Sudharsan and David Miller (11) then attempted to revive the innings, but only managed to score 23 runs in 30 balls.
It was 67/4 when Liam Livingstone (1/15) dismissed Miller, who miscued a lofted ball and was caught at long-off by Rabada.
Sudharshan attempted to shift gears in the 11th over as he pulled Livingstone for his maiden boundary but was repeatedly unable to release his arms.
Rabada compounded Gujarat’s woes by dismissing Rahul Tewatia (11) and Rashid Khan (0) in the 17th over, leaving GT reeling at 112/6.
Rabada completed an unforgettable spell by eliminating Lockie Ferguson (5).
Sandeep Sharma (0/11), Arshdeep Singh (1/35), Rahul Chahar (0/11), and Livingstone also performed admirably for Punjab.
Also, read: Why Did Gujarat Titans’ Shubman Gill Become Angered At Punjab Kings Bowler After Being Run Out?