Punjab Kings defeated Gujarat Titans by 8 wickets at the DY Patil Stadium on Tuesday. GT are on top of the points table in IPL 2022 and were favourites ahead of the match, but Kagiso Rabada (4/33) starred with the ball for Punjab before Shikhar Dhawan (62*) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (40) aced a middling chase of 144. Once the stage was set, Liam Livingstone came to the party, blasting Mohammad Shami for 28 runs in the 16th over to seal the deal for Punjab. Livingstone stayed not out at 30 off just 10 balls and hit the biggest six of the tournament against Mohammad Shami, which got recorded at 117 meters.
Shikhar Dhawan was brilliant for PBKS – he hit his third half-century of the season and ensured there were no problems for his side.
Gujarat Titans, in their first season in the IPL, have been in brilliant form but they were bailed out of trouble by their lower-order batters. David Miller, Rahul Tewatia and Rashid Khan have been superb for the Titans, but none of them could do anything with the bat on Tuesday.
PBKS were ruthless in their approach. They have a negative net run-rate and they were determined to win big to improve their prospects of a berth in the playoffs. They now have 10 points from 10 matches and would consider themselves firmly in the running for the playoffs after this victory. Gujarat Titans, who lost only their second match of the season, are still comfortably on top of the table.
After Hardik Pandya won the toss and decided to bowl, Gujarat Titans got off to a rather poor start. Shubman Gill was run out cheaply while Wriddhiman Saha fell after a brisk start. Hardik Pandya, David Miller and Rahul Tewatia flopped for the Titans and it was left to Sai Sudharsan (64 not out) to steer GT to a decent 143 for 8 at the end of their 20 overs.
PBKS lost Jonny Bairstow early in their chase of 144 when he top-edged a Mohammed Shami delivery and was caught by Pradeep Sangwan at deep fine leg. Jonny Bairstow was sent up the order to open with Shikhar Dhawan but there was no change of fortune for the England start who has had a poor season so far.
It was again up to Shikhar Dhawan who is among the highest run-scorers this year in the IPL to play the lead role as PBKS sought a much-needed victory. Bhanuka Rajapaksa was as explosive as he has always been and proved to be the perfect partner for Dhawan who deployed a mix of caution and aggression.
DHAWAN STARS AGAIN
Bhanuka Rajapaksa hit Sangwan for two boundaries in his second over while Dhawan hit him for a six and PBKS had raced away to 58 for 1 off 7 overs before the first strategic timeout.
Shikhar Dhawan has had a wonderful tournament so far after being roped in by Punjab Kings at the player auction. And he has already shown his stature as a senior statesman in the team – he speaks to the younger players, hold them back against overthinking and leads with the bat by example.
Earlier in the season, Shikhar Dhawa became the second player after Virat Kohli to breach the 6000-run mark in the Indian Premier League. Two of the biggest names in Indian cricket – Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma – have struggled for their sides, but Dhawan has been on fire. Perhaps, it is time to acknowledge and remember that he was a crucial part of a dominant top-three for India in the shorter formats for years.
Shikhar Dhawan has carried that same swag for PBKS this year and little surprise then that he has been the best batter in the team.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa had started brilliantly but he had to make way for Bairstow who has not yet justified his selection. Somewhere down the middle, PBKS found spots for both men and luckily for them, the Sri Lankan power-hitter fired again – his 28-ball 40 was laced with 5 fours and a six.
Lockie Ferguson dismissed Bhanuka Rajapaksa but Dhawan motored along and hit his third fifty of the season as PBKS secured their fifth win of the season.
RABADA BREATHES FIRE
Gujarat Titans’ top-order wobble continued on Tuesday after they lost Shubman Gill early to a run-out. A brilliant piece of fielding from Rishi Dhawan ended Gill’s stay at the crease in the third over of the GT innings. Dhawan swooped in on the ball and hit with just one stump visible to catch Gill short of his crease.
However, the GT batter was miffed because he felt PBKS bowler Sandeep Sarma got in the way. Gill expressed his displeasure but that’s all he could do as he walked back after getting 9 off 6 balls.
Gill’s opening partner Wriddhiman Saha was looking good and hit 3 fours and a six to try and set it up for the Titans but he fell to Kagiso Rabada for a 17-ball 21. Saha was done in by the extra bounce and PBKS skipper Mayank Agarwal took a spectacular catch to help give his team another crucial breakthrough.
GT skipper Hardik Pandya has been a batting mainstay for the team but on Tuesday, he did not really bring his best game with the bat to the park. He did nothing to accelerate during the powerplay and was finally dismissed by Rishi Dhawan for 1. David Miller, another heavy scorer for GT perished Liam Livingstone in the 12th over as Rahul Tewatia joined Sai Sudharsan in the middle.
Sai Sudharsan came in at No.3 and saw some of his senior pros flop against a disciplined bowling line-up. However, he held one end up and scored a gutsy half-century before Rabada ripped through the GT lower-order to leave the No.1 side in IPL 2022 reeling.
Kagiso Rabada dismissed Tewatia and Lockie Ferguson in successive overs in the death while Arshdeep Singh removed Pradeep Sangwan to deny the Titans the chance to finish strong.