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Match summary: Gujarat take the chase deep again

Kolkata: It was yet another extraordinary chase by Gujarat Titans in the first Qualifier of IPL 2022 at the Eden Gardens on a balmy Tuesday evening. Showing remarkable character, they chased down a challenging target of 189 to win by seven wickets and storm into the final in their debut appearance in the league.

Chasing a steep target masterminded by Jos Buttler earlier, the Titans were in trouble early on when they lost Wridhhiman Saha without scoring in the first over. A 106-run partnership, off merely 61 balls, between skipper Hardik Pandya (40 off 27 balls) and David Miller (68 off 38) took them over the line after Shubman Gill and Matthew Wade laid the foundation early on.

The area where Titans deserved a huge part on the back was the way they decided to take their chase deep yet again and then launch into the final assault.

Titans model at work?

Gujarat now need 80 runs in last eight overs - a tall order but they have Pandya and Miller in the middle and Tewatia still to follow. It seems they want to take it deep, much like what they did against Chennai in a league game in April, and then give it a go. It could be interesting here...

A needless wicket

Just when Gill and Wade seemed to have got a grip over the chase, Titans lose an unnecessary wicket. Gill, who looked in fine rhythm, set off for a second run which was there but Wade hesitated. A throw from Hetmyer from the circle is collected by Padikkal who breaks the stumps. This brings in skipper Pandya.  

Titans keep up the tempo

Good display of fearless cricket from Titans, who stay ahead of their asking rate at 64 for one after powerplay. Gill's lofted shot over extra cover against Ashwin for a six was a delight to watch. Wade is also bringing all his experience into play. Can they take this deep? 

Saha fails at home ground...

Mid-match summary : Buttler’s late blitz takes Royals to 188

Kolkata: A late blitz from Jos Buttler (89 off 56 balls) gave Rajasthan Royals total the right push to a potentially match-winning total as they finished at 188 for the loss of six wickets against Gujarat Titans in Qualifier 1 of IPL 2022 this evening.

It turned out to be a good toss to lose for Royals skipper Sanju Samson in the end. They took the early loss of in-form opener Yashasvi Jaiswal in stride as a crackling 68-run stand between Buttler and Samson (47 off 26) set them back on rails.

Just when it looked Titans had pulled back things a bit after the fall of Devdutt Padikkal’s wicket in the 15th over, Buttler decided to cut loose. The fallout was evident in the final figures of Mohammed Shami and Yash Dayal, who went for 43 and 46 runs, respectively, for a wicket apiece.

Buttler on rampage

Suddenly, the Buttler whom we saw in the first part of IPL campaign is back. He handles 90 per cent of the scoring during an invaluable 45-run stand with Hetmyer for fourth wicket - and the Eden crowd is loving every moment of it.

Padikkal departs

Titans appear to have put the brakes after Samson's departure. Padikkal, who took on the role of the aggressor, gets an inside edge off a Pandya off cutter rattling his stumps. The left-hander tried to take the role of the aggressor as Buttler had been struggling a bit with two big sixes. How much can Royals, 124/3 after 15, get to from here? 

Spinners apply brakes

It was finally left to young left-arm spinner Sai Kishore to give the breakthrough. A smart piece of bowling as he followed Samson, who was moving to the leg stump to make room for the big shot but the Rajasthan skipper failed to clear the long on this time. A sublime innings of 47 off 25 balls comes to an end. 

Profitable powerplay

The Samson-Buttler combination is looking ominous as they take Royals to 55 for one after Powerplay. Pandya had employed an all-seam attack so far and Alzarri Joseph, coming in for sixth over, gets wallopped all over the park by Samson. The six over long on was simply breathtaking. 

Buttler looking good

Royals are off to a sedate start in Powerplay after left-arm seamer Dayal sends back Jaiswal cheaply in the second over. The ball is coming onto the bat nicely and this suits Buttler, who creamed Shami for two fours in the first over of the day and is looking good. 

Crowds back at the Eden

Welcome to the first Qualifier from Eden Gardens, where the crowd is slowly filling up now. The loud music, an integral part of the IPL during strategic timeouts and breaks, is being checked out to build up to the atmosphere. Both teams are out in the middle as we are about five minutes away from toss. Worryingly enough, there is a dark cloud building on the horizon. 

Kolkata: The IPL 2022 caravan has stepped out of Mumbai and Pune for the final four matches, with Gujarat Titans – the surprise package of the tournament – taking on Rajasthan Royals in the first Qualifier at the Eden Gardens this evening.

If this refreshing match-up has invoked a lot of curiosity among, so has the fresh wicket which promises to offer a certain amount of bounce and carry in the initial stages. The looming threat on the horizon, however, is forecast of rains -  and the humidity after a sharp spell of shower in the afternoon suggests it may just come true and jeopardise the chances of a full match.

Royals, who had been perennial under-achievers in the IPL ever since winning the inaugural edition in 2008 under Shane Warne, are desperate to go the distance this time as this could be their perfect tribute to their first captain and mentor. The squad looks more balanced than their rivals, with the presence of the seasoned spin duo of Ravi Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal providing the real X-factor in their bowling attack.

There is, of course, an element of concern over the form of their prolific opener Jos Buttler and the middle order batters should be ready to rally around skipper Sanju Samson if the Englishman falls in the powerplay.

The Titans, on the other hand, have relied on the perfect team game and may prefer the chasing option after executing it so well time and again. The batting line-up has often looked thin and it’s time that Shubman Gill, for whom the venue had been ‘home’ during his stint with KKR, comes good in an anchoring role as it suits his style of batting.

Here’s hoping that the weather holds…