Gujarat Titans put up a scintillating show in their away contest as they handed Rajasthan Royals a massive defeat in match no. 48 of the ongoing Indian Premier League season.
Both Titans and Royals entered the match on the back of losses, but it was the defending champions who rallied to avenge their previous loss by Sanju Samson’s men in this season.
Barring their Powerplay, the home side were never in the match as the Afghan spinners silenced the home crowd.
Heading into the contest, the focus was on Royals star opener Yashasvi Jaiswal and Gujarat Titans’ pacer Mohammed Shami. Both have handed their respective teams explosive starts.
While the young Jaiswal has been in stellar form hammering his maiden IPL ton, India pacer Shami too registered his best figures in the league this season. The two -- Jaiswal with the bat and Shami with the new ball -- have been clinical for their teams.
But on Friday, the limelight shone on their teammates. While Royals found no match-winners in the one-sided contest, Titans put up a strong show with both ball and bat.
After being asked to bowl first, Gujarat restricted the hosts to a paltry total of 118. The two Afghan spinners bowled in tandem to spin a web around the hosts as they folded up for 118 in 17.5 overs.
In response, Gujarat chased down the target with 37 balls to spare. It was the biggest win by any team this season in terms of balls remaining.
Already on top of the points table, Titans now hold a three-point lead along with a healthy net run rate.
Let’s take a look at the top performers of the Gujarat Titans vs Rajasthan Royals match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium:
Rashid Khan & Noor Ahmed
One of the best spinners in the world, Rashid has gone for runs this season though he’s had his share of wickets as well. But on Friday, the Afghanistan spinner put up one of his best shows as he returned with scintillating figures of 3/14.
The home side were in a comfortable position, despite losing opener Jos Buttler early. But the Titans fought back with their Afghan spinners doing the job.
Rajasthan were in control at 47/1 from the first five overs. But a runout effected by Rashid in the final over of the Powerplay saw the Titans collapse.
While Rashid picked up three, Noor joined his compatriot to pick up two crucial wickets. The two spinners spun a web around the hosts as they picked up five for 39 across seven overs to put Titans in complete control. Shami, the leading wicket-taker in their previous match, picked up one as the visitors bowled out Rajasthan for 118.
With just 118 on the board, the Titans didn’t need to do much to chase it down. Openers Shubman Gill and Wriddhiman Saha put the defending champions on course for a win. But following Gill’s dismissal, skipper Hardik Pandya took the match completely out of reach with a sizzling cameo.
In their previous match, Titans lost a low-scoring affair, with Pandya, who remained unbeaten till the end, shouldering the blame for the loss as he failed to chase down the target. On Friday, a determined Hardik stepped on the pedal from the very onset.
Striking at a sizzling rate of 260, the Gujarat skipper hammered an unbeaten 15-ball 39 to finish the job the spinners started. Hardik’s innings was laced with three boundaries and three maximums as Titans wrapped up a comfortable win.
Hardik had delivered with the ball as well, picking up the first wicket of the day, removing RR all-rounder Jos Buttler.