Pacer Kagiso Rabada grabbed four wickets as the Punjab Kings limited the formidable Gujarat Titans to an under-par 143 for eight after Hardik Pandya opted to strike first.
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Punjab, who bungled what should have been a straight chase in their final game, learned from their mistakes to pace the innings better and go over the target in 16 overs.
Dhawan (62 from 53 balls) scored his third half of the season and got good support from Sri Lanka’s Bhanuka Rajapaksa (40 from 28), who entertained with five fours and a six.
As one of the team’s senior hitters, Dhawan took responsibility for finishing the game for his team and he did so with gusto.
Skipper Mayank Agarwal dropped down the order to accommodate Jonny Bairstow (1) at the top of the order but the move didn’t work out.
It’s match 48.@PunjabKingsIPL win by 8 wickets with four overs to spare.Scorecard -… https://t.co/GNYRDzpYMs
– IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) 1651599835000
However, the 87-point position between southpaws Dhawan and Rajapaksa saw Punjab comfortably home.
Liam Livingstone (30 out of 10) displayed brutal punches towards the end of the chase and smashed India leading point guard Mohammed Shami for four sixes, including a monstrous 117m kick to a deep square leg. 16th out of 30 runs also gave PBKS a big boost to net run rate.
It was a much needed victory for Punjab, who have struggled for consistency this season with five wins and as many losses.
For Gujarat, who are set to enter the playoffs, it was a timely wake-up call to address their batting issues, especially at the top of the order. They had someone or the other to get them out of trouble but that wasn’t the case on Tuesday.
In half 🔝! 😍#SherSquad, describe #GTvPBKS in one emoji! ⤵️#SaddaPunjab #PunjabKings #IPL2022 #ਸਾਡਾਪੰਜਾਬ https://t.co/0gTP9jdCb2
— Punjab Kings (@PunjabKingsIPL) 1651600326000
Earlier, Sai Sudharsan’s unbeaten 65 from 50 was the saving grace of Gujarat’s innings as Punjab bowlers conceded just 11 fours and two sixes.
Sudarsan managed to hit five limits and a six but ran out of partners as Gujarat skipper Hardik Pandya’s decision to opt to bat backfired.
They lost fly-half Shubman Gill (9) and Wriddhiman Saha (21) cheaply. Gill, who had reached two limits, was dismissed thanks to a direct hit from Rishi Dhawan from cover in the third.
In the next, Saha, who started aggressively, gave rival captain Mayank Agawral a keeper halfway through, giving Rabada (4/33) his first wicket. Saha, who had hit three boundaries and a six, was undone by the extra bounce as he attempted to play a lob shot, but he mistimed it and paid the price.
Gujarat slid further to 44/3 as pacemaker Rishi Dhawan (1/26) knocked out Hardik (1) early. Hardik tried to drive a ball off the length but finished it by slashing wicketkeeper Jitesh Sharma, leaving his side in all sorts of trouble.
Then Sudharsan and David Miller (11) attempted to rally innings but only managed to add 23 runs on 30 balls.
It became 67/4 after Liam Livingstone (1/15) fired Miller, who missed a lob drive to be caught by Rabada at long range.
Sudharshan tried to switch gears from the 11, when he shot Livingstone for his first limit, but couldn’t release his arms frequently.
Rabada further strengthened Gujarat by suppressing Rahul Tewatia (11) and Rashid Khan (0) in successive deliveries in 17th, with GT faltering at 112/6.
Rabada crowned a memorable spell by dismissing Lockie Ferguson (5).
For Punjab, Sandeep Sharma (0/17), Arshdeep Singh (1/35), Rahul Chahar (0/11) and Livingstone also played their part to perfection.
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