Gujarat Titans’ juggernaut continued in the Indian Premier League as the defending champions crushed Lucknow Super Giants by 56 runs in Ahmedabad on Sunday to remain perched on the top of the table. This was their eighth win in 11 matches, taking their tally to 16 points and closer to the play-offs. Gujarat Titans, propelled to their highest-ever total of 227 for two courtesy a franchise record 142-run partnership between Shubman Gill (94 not out) and Wriddhiman Saha (81), came back strongly in the second half of LSG’s chase to emerge winners in a comprehensive manner.
Chasing 228, LSG stroked their way to a strong 102 for one at the halfway mark but the wheels came off eventually, with GT tying down their batters with tight overs.
Despite Quinton de Kock’s brilliant 70 in his first game this season and Kyle Mayers’ brisk 48 at the top, LSG middle-order crumbled against a mountainous chase to concede the contest, finishing at 171 for seven in 20 overs.
Lucknow Super Giants knocked off 50 runs from the target in only four overs with both Mayers and de Kock finding momentum.
While Mayers began with three consecutive fours off Hardik Pandya in the second over, the third from Mohammad Shami yielded 19 runs with de Kock hitting a couple of fours and Mayers getting a six and a four.
Mayers was also severe on Rashid Khan in the fifth, hitting him for a six and a four to collect 14 runs as LSG reached 72 for no loss after the powerplay.
However, a brilliant catch from Rashid in the ninth over broke LSG’s opening stand at 88.
The Afghan player covered a distance of 26 metres from deep square leg and managed to hold on to the ball while diving to his right, getting rid of Mayers for 48 off 32 balls (7x4s, 2x6s) off Mohit Sharma.
But de Kock continued to flourish, flicking Hardik powerfully over midwicket for a six to take LSG to 102 for one halfway through.
The horror run this IPL, meanwhile, continued for Deepak Hooda (11) who managed to get into double digits for only the third time in 10 innings, but hit a full toss off Shami straight to deep midwicket.
LSG failed to hit even a single four in overs 11-14 as Gujarat seized control.
Marcus Stoinis (4) succumbed with Mohit getting him caught at short third man in the 15th over.
LSG skidded further when Rashid cleaned up de Kock for a fine 70, coming off 41 balls with three sixes and seven fours, while Nicholas Pooran (3) fell to Noor Ahmad.
Earlier, Gill’s unbeaten 94 and Saha’s brutal 81 fired Gujarat Titans to 227 for two – the fourth highest total this season.
Saha and Gill went hammer and tongs from the word go to add 142 runs for the first wicket in only 12.1 overs, setting the franchise record for highest partnership for any wicket, as LSG had no respite despite deploying eight bowlers into the attack.
It was also the second-best stand for any team and for any wicket in this IPL, whereas for Gujarat Titans, the total was their highest-ever in IPL since their debut last season.
Saha struck an overall four sixes and 10 fours to make his runs from 43 balls whereas Gill finished close to what would have been a splendid maiden IPL century, hitting seven sixes and two fours in his 51-ball knock.
Gujarat Titans also bettered their overall record of most runs in the powerplay.
Having hit 65 against Chennai Super Kings here in the season-opener, the Saha-Gill pair went ballistic to add 78 runs in the first six overs, scoring at 13 runs per over.
Saha got off the blocks quickly to put pressure on the visiting bowlers, hitting Mohsin Khan for a couple of fours and Avesh Khan for a six and a four in the first two overs of the innings.
The Gujarat wicketkeeper-batter continued with his assault on Mohsin in the left-armer’s second over, hitting him for a couple of sixes and fours each to take the defending champions past the 50-run mark inside four overs.
Gill, so far steady at the other end, smacked a six over long-on off Krunal Pandya and in the last over of the powerplay, Saha brought up his fifty off only 20 balls with a six off Yash Thakur.
Saha and Gill’s century stand came up in the ninth over itself with the latter hitting Ravi Bishnoi inside out for a six over cover.
Saha looked set for his second IPL century – his first came nine years ago in IPL 2014 – but a sharp catch at deep midwicket by substitute Prerak Mankad off Avesh ended his assault.
GT captain Hardik Pandya played a handy cameo hitting two fours and a six to make 15 off 25 balls. David Miller hit a couple of fours and a six to make 21 not out off 12 balls.
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