Gujarat Titans beat Punjab Kings by six wickets in an IPL 2023 match on Thursday, thanks to the visitor’s all-round bowling performance and the host’s egregious batting display.
Chasing 154 at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali, Titans matched Kings’ PowerPlay haul of 52 with an over to spare, riding on opener Wriddhiman Saha’s 18-ball 30. Kagiso Rabada, replacing Nathan Ellis in the playing XI, removed Saha for his 100th IPL wicket.
But in a touch of irony for Punjab, the run chase was anchored by a man hailing from its own land, Shubman Gill. The effervescent right-hander drove and cut effortlessly, and the lightening quick outfield did the rest as Gujarat rode on Gill’s 49-ball 67 to get back to winning ways.
Sam Curran gave Titans a brief scare when, with seven needed off six, he dismissed Gill to make it six needed off four. But Rahul Tewatia sealed the deal with a four.
Earlier, Mohit Sharma returned to IPL for the first time since 2020 and finished with two for 18 in his four overs, dismissing Jitesh Sharma and Curran. Bowling first, Titans needed two balls to strike on a Mohali pitch that offered encouragement in terms of carry and some seam movement to go alongside early swing.
While Mohammad Shami hit the good length in his first spell, Josh Little pitched the ball up. Prabhsimran Singh was the first to depart when he pushed an innocuous ball from Shami in the first over to Rashid Khan at short mid-wicket. Three overs later, Shikhar Dhawan miscued a lofted drive off Little to be caught at mid-on.
But Matthew Short’s 24-ball 36, studded with six fours and one six, ensured PBKS soared to 52 for two after six overs despite GT bowling 21 dots in that phase. Short briefly had designs on a maiden IPL fifty but the introduction of his Adelaide Strikers teammate Rashid (one for 26), in the seventh over, put paid to those dreams.
Thereafter, there was close to an hour of slow torture for Kings to endure and everyone inside the Mohali stadium knew at that point that big hits were likely to be an aberration rather than the norm.
Titans bowled pace on and pace off and spin in and spin away to effectively choke the scoring rate, with Shahrukh Khan’s nine-ball 22 proving to be a silver lining that ultimately paled into insignificance on a disappointing night for Kings.