Gujarat Titans 188 for 9 (Gill 101, Sudharsan 47, Bhuvneshwar 5-30) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 154 for 9 (Klaasen 64, Shami 4-21, Mohit 4-28) by 34 runs
Gujarat Titans stormed to a top-two finish for the second time in a row with a 34-run win against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Ahmedabad on Monday. With 18 points from 13 matches, the defending champions are the first team to seal a playoff berth, en route knocking Sunrisers out of the contention.
It was also a night when pacers called the shots, accounting for 17 of the 18 wickets to fall on the red-soil pitch at Motera Stadium. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was one among them, who shone the brightest by taking a five-wicket haul, however, it wasn’t enough for Sunrisers who now have nothing to play for but their own wounded pride.
Gill and Sudharsan turn it on
Wriddhiman Saha’s stay was short-lived as he nicked an outswinger from Bhuvneshwar to be out for a duck off the third ball of the innings. From there on, it was the Gill-Sudharsan show as the duo put on 149 runs for the second wicket. Barring them, none of the Titans’ batters even touched double-figures.
Both Gill and Sudharsan’s innings were filled with fours – 13 to the centurion and six to the almost half-centurion. They hit ten fours in the powerplay with four of them coming back-to-back in the fourth over bowled by left-arm quick Fazalhaq Farooqi. A pull, a short-arm jab, a cover drive, a scoop, you name it, Gill played it.
From 65 for 1 after six overs, the total touched 100 in the next four as the Titans kept accelerating. Interestingly, the first six of the innings came only in the 11th over, off Sudharsan’s bat when he scooped left-arm seamer Marco Jansen over fine leg.
Having reached his first fifty, with nine fours and no sixes, in 22 balls, Gill slowed down a bit, needing 34 more to bring up his hundred.
Sudharsan, who replaced Vijay Shankar to play his first match in almost a month, looked solid in terms of technique, finding gaps and putting away loose balls. He did, however, benefit from two dropped catches.
It all began in the 15th over bowled by Jansen, who had missed Sunrisers’ last few games. By that time, the left-arm pacer had conceded 32 runs in his three overs and had bowled four wides and two no-balls. Yet Aiden Markram backed him and the bowler repaid that faith. He dismissed Sudharsan with his first delivery of the over when Natarajan ran from backward point and took an excellent catch.
In the next over, Bhuvneshwar had Hardik Pandya caught at backward point. Natarajan came on for the 17th over and he picked up the wicket of David Miller. It was then Farooqi’s turn to dismiss the IPL debutant Dasun Shanaka.
Then came the final over where Bhuvneshwar went W, W, W, 1, W, 1b to close things out. He scalped three wickets and effected a run-out to finish with an excellent figure of 5 for 30.
Titans strangle SRH upfront
Sunrisers couldn’t handle the pace of Shami, Dayal and Mohit, who combined to take all nine wickets that fell in the chase. In the first over, Anmolpreet Singh top-edged a back-of-the-length ball and was caught by Rashid Khan, running across from deep third. In the second, Dayal induced an outside edge to send Abhishek Sharma back. Then came steaming hot Shami who was too good for both Rahul Tripathi and Aiden Markram. At that stage, he seemed almost unplayable – three wickets for five runs in 10 balls.
Sunrisers’ 29 for 4 became 59 for 7 when Mohit picked up three wickets in his first two overs.
Klaasen, the lone warrior
Srinidhi Ramanujam is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo