Mohali: Opener Shubman Gill notched up his fifth half-century against Punjab Kings since his entry into the IPL fold to lead the way for a six-wicket victory for Gujarat Titans at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium on Thursday.
After pacer Mohit Sharma made a stellar comeback to the tournament with 2-18 and led a clinical bowling performance from Gujarat in restricting Punjab to 153/8, the defending champions were on course for a comfortable chase, thanks to Gill's serene 67 off 49 balls, laced with seven fours and a six.
With seven runs needed off the final over, Gill survived a run-out chance, before Sam Curran uprooted his off-stump on the very next ball, bringing sudden tension into the match. After Curran nailed two back-to-back yorkers, David Miller completed the second run with a desperate dive.
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With four runs needed off the last two balls, Rahul Tewatia finished off the chase by moving across and scooping a full ball from Curran over short fine leg for four to seal victory for Gujarat with a ball to spare.
Gujarat were off to a flier as Gill eased into a cover drive off Arshdeep Singh for four. After he and Wriddhiman Saha took a four each off Kagiso Rabada, the latter launched into Arshdeep by driving, whipping, pulling and slicing with disdain to take four boundaries in the third over.
But a bouncer from Rabada in the fifth over saw Saha go for the pull but ended up finding deep square leg, giving the fast bowler his 100th IPL wicket. Sai Sudharsan immediately got going with a delightful punch through point for four.
Sudharsan and Gill kept the scoreboard ticking through strike rotation, with the latter taking two boundaries off Rahul Chahar through a cut past short third and coming forward to loft inside-out over extra cover in the ninth over.
But Sudharsan fell in the 12th over, as Arshdeep forced him to pull towards the longer side of the ground on a short ball and gave a catch to deep fine leg. Three overs later, Hardik Pandya holed out to long-on off Harpreet Brar.
Gill brought up his fifty in the 16th over with a nonchalant lofted cover drive on the front foot off Chahar. He left fans astonished by playing a tennis-like forehand that flew past the non-striker off Sam Curran for four and then stood tall to pull Rabada nonchalantly over deep square leg for six. Though he fell in the final over, Tewatia ensured Gujarat got their third win of the competition.
Punjab Kings 153/8 in 20 overs (Matthew Short 36, Jitesh Sharma 25; Mohit Sharma 2-18, Rashid Khan 1-26) lost to Gujarat Titans 154/4 in 19.5 overs (Shubman Gill 67, Wriddhiman Saha 30; Harpreet Brar 1-20, Sam Curran 1-25) by six wickets