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Match summary: Tewatia pulls off improbable win after Gill's class act
Kolkata: Gujarat Titans are yet to put a foot wrong on their debut season in IPL 2022 so far. Just when a chase of 190 proved beyond them with 19 runs needed off the last over, Rahul Tewatia kept his self-belief in tact and struck back-to-back sixes off the last two balls of Odeon Smith to fetch his team an improbable six-wicket win against Punjab Kings this evening.
Chasing a steep target even under perfect batting conditions, a classy Shubman Gill (96 off 59 balls) and young S. Sudharsan (35 off 30 balls) starred in a 101-run partnership for the second wicket. Even though Gill failed in reaching what would have been his first IPL century, the Indian opener gave his team a fighting chance by taking the match deep.
Gujarat have now won all three of their matches while Punjab have won two out of four in an impressive campaign so far.
Can Gill, Pandya take Gujarat home?
The run-rate has climbed to 12-plus and it's getting difficult for Gujarat now. Gill looks in line for what could be the second century of IPL 2022, but it may not just be enough to take them home.
Young Sudarshan, who was matching Gill stroke for stroke, eventually falls when his effort to take on Rahul Chahar ends in Mayank's hands in the deep. A brilliant 101-run partnership for second wicket comes to an end.
Gill in fine touch
It seems to be Shubman Gill 2.0 in this IPL. Always a delight to watch but often criticised for his strike-rate in the past, the Indian opener has been finding the gaps and also hit the big shots with elan. Gujarat were 88 for the loss of Wade's wicket after nine overs at timeout while young S.Sudharsan, the young batsman groomed in Tamil Nadu Premier League, shows no nerves at all on debut.
Hiccup for Gujarat
Kagiso Rabada, or 'KG' gives Punjab the breakthrough coming on first change in powerplay. Wade goes hard at one leaving him to be caught behind while Gill has been a delight to watch. The rangy opener is making great use of the pace off the wicket and struck some delightful boundaries.
Challenging total by Punjab
Kolkata: Liam Livingstone, the England allrounder, seemed to have carried on the good work from the previous game as his 64 off 27 deliveries with a strike-rate in the region of 237 (seven fours, four sixes) was instrumental in rallying the Punjab Kings innings and take them to a potentially winning total of 189 for nine wickets.
Veteran Shikhar Dhawan (35 off 30) gave him able support in a 50-plus partnership, while Rahul Chahar's 22 off 14 balls gave them the much-needed push on a good batting surface.
Rashid Khan was the pick of bowlers, picking up key wickets of Dhawan, topscorer Livingstone and Shahrukh Khan.
Punjab lose way with quick wickets
Punjab lose two quick wickets in Shahrukh Khan and Kagiso Rabada, the latter going for a non-existent run and is run out. They need to play out the full quota of overs and can still look at a 180-plus total.
Punjab cross 150-mark, Livingstone falls
Livingstone seemed to be continuing from where he had left off in the CSK game, till Rashid Khan strikes on coming back for his final over. An innings of 64 off 27 balls, with a strike-rate of 237-plus, is simply invaluable for his team.
Debutant Darshan shines
Darshan Nalkande, who was put under the pump by Livingstone earlier, strikes twice in his third over. Jitesh Sharma and the big hitting West Indian Odean Smith fell in going for good shots as they are caught by Gill in the deep.
Punjab get a launchpad
Dhawan falls to Rashid Khan but he and Livingstone have now set the launchpad for Punjab to cash on. Young Jitesh Sharma, who comes ahead of Shahrukh Khan, gets back-to-back sixes off Tewatia. Livingstone also gives Tewatia a taste of his own medicine as the England allrounder reaches 50.
Livingstone cuts loose
Fair bit of drama as the Punjab innings reaches halfway mark. Livingstone, who enjoys a reprieve after a stunning catch taken by Hardik at the boundary is ruled void, opens up. A scoop shot off young Darshan Nalkande goes for a six and he follows it with another - a 50-run partnership already.
Bairstow falls early
Gujarat dominate this Powerplay as Lockie Ferguson strikes in his first over. After Dhawan uses his pace for a boundary over long off, the Kiwi has the last laugh. Bairstow tries to steer one from him which had extra bounce and Tewatia at short third man dives to his left and completes a nice catch.
Hardik wins battle of captains
Mayank and Shikhar were off to a sedate start on a lively wicket before Hardik strikes in his very first over, second of the innings. He digs one in short at close to 140 kmph to which Mayank goes a pull, but is cramped for space as Rashid Khan completes the catch.
Gujarat opt to bowl
Hardik Pandya wins the toss and quite expectedly, elects to field. The idea will be to unleash Mohammed Shami in the Powerplay for a possible early breakthrough. The big news from Punjab camp is that the explosive Jonny Bairstow is making his 'debut' for them while the Titans have two debutants in Sai Sudarshan and Darshan Nalkande.
Kolkata: Punjab Kings, on a high after an emphatic win over Chennai Super Kings in their last game, will look to sustain the momentum against newcomers Gujarat Titans in Match 16 of IPL 2022 at the Brabourne Stadium this evening.
In a tournament where close finishes have been the norm so far, the Mayank Agarwal-led team can expect a spirited Titans though, whose strength lies in a potent seam attack comprising of senior Indian paceman Mohammed Shami, Lockie Ferguson and skipper Hardik Pandya himself.
Pandya, who had been in good touch with the bat and been clocking 135-plus while bowling, has rallied the team well so far and their close win against Delhi Capitals must have given them a lot of self-belief.
The toss will again hold the key as the Brabourne wicket had been offering quite a bit of juice early on while dew factor is expected to make chasing easy.
Brace for a close contest again…