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Is This A Turning Point For R Sai Kishore?

April 22, 2024 07:59 IST
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R Sai Kishore led with a four wicket haul as Gujarat Titans spinners led them to a three wicket victory against Punjab Kings in a low-scoring IPL 2024 match on Sunday, April 21, 2024.

The Gujarat Titans' spin troika of Sai Kishore, Noor Ahmad and Rashid Khan took eight wickets between to shoot out Punjab for a below-par score.

The Gujarat batters also struggled to come to grips with the tough pitch before they sneaked home in the final over with three wickets in hand.

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R Sai Kishore

R Sai Kishore will hope his career-best four wicket haul will prove a turning point for his IPL career.

Sai Kishore has been part of the IPL for nearly six years but had played just five games before Sunday's game against the Punjab Kings.

He didn't get a single game during his three year tenure at the Chennai Super Kings, while he was an unused player last season at the Gujarat Titans.

This year, too he played just two games out of Gujarat Titans' first seven games. But when presented with an opportunity on a pitch offering some assistance for spinners, the Tamil Nadu player ripped apart Punjab Kings' middle and lower order.

Introduced as the third spinner in the 12th over, after Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmad had done their jobs, Sai Kishore made an immediate impact.

He didn't have a great start as Jitesh Sharma slammed his first ball for a six but Sai Kishore had the last laugh as he bowled the Punjab Kings right-hander when he attempted to again hit him out of the ground.

It was a superb delivery from the spinner, who expecting the batter to use his feet, slowed it down quite a lot to beat Jitesh in flight while also extracting some sharp turn to get it past the bat and into the stumps.

In the next over, he struck another crucial blow when he got Ashutosh Sharma at deep extra cover after the in-form batter also used his feet to try and hit over the top.

Shashank Singh, PBKS' other in-form batter, became his third victim after he offered a simple return catch in the 16th over.

Sai Kishore was hit for 14 runs in his final over as Harpreet Brar hit him for a boundary and a six off successive balls, but perished off the final delivery, caught at long on.

Sai Kishore finished with career-best IPL figures of 4/33 in four overs, including 11 dot balls, which was instrumental in bowling out Punjab for a below-par 142.

Noor Ahmad

The 19-year-old spinner is enjoying a good IPL 2024 season after picking up 16 wickets in his debut season last year.

Ahmad made a good start, getting Rilee Rossouw leg before using the review after he missed the sweep shot.

Liam Livingstone and Jitesh Sharma struggled to read Ahmad's variations and were just content to play him safe.

In his third over, he had Livingstone caught at slip as the Englishman got an outside edge trying to flick Ahmad across the line on the leg side.

The Afghan tweaker turned in excellent figures of 2/20 in four overs.

Rashid Khan

Rashid hasn't been quite as effective with the ball this season, after taking 46 wickets in the last two seasons for Titans.

He has managed just eight wickets from as many games with an economy rate in excess of seven in IPL 2024.

He played his part to perfection against Punjab. Introduced early, he started with a quiet over in the Powerplay, giving away just three singles.

He got Punjab Captain Sam Curran leg before on the review for his only wicket of the game.

The opposition seemed content to play out Rashid without taking any risks, who finished with 1/15, without conceding a single boundary in his four over spell.

Mohit Sharma

The experienced pacer has been one of Gujarat's go-to bowlers this season.

Mohit, who has taken 10 wickets so far, made the first breakthrough with the wicket of the well-set Prabhsimran Singh, who was caught behind after stroking 35 from 21 balls.

After bowling two overs in the Powerplay, Mohit returned to bowl in the death overs. He was hit for a couple of fours by Harpreet Brar in the 18th over, but finished with a brilliant final over.

He got Harshal Patel caught at long on for a duck while conceding just three runs in the 20th over, as he bagged 2/32 in four overs.

Liam Livingstone

Part-time spinner Livingstone was the surprise performer with the ball for Punjab Kings.

After failing with the bat, Livingstone more than made up for it with some timely strikes in the middle overs to finish with 2/19 from four overs.

Gujarat Titans looked in control of the run chase as Shubman Gill stitched together a fluent partnership with B Sai Sudharsan before Livingstone changed the script.

He got the Titans captain's wicket in his second over. Gill played a poor shot lofting the spinner straight to Kagiso Rabada at long off.

The England all-rounder bagged another big wicket when he bowled David Miller for four in his third over as the left-hander missed a big swipe across the line.

Livingstone enjoyed one of his best outings with the ball in IPL, as he finished with 2/19 from his four overs.

Harshal Patel

After a difficult start this IPL season, 33-year-old Harshal is finally starting to make a telling difference with the ball.

He got Azmatullah Omarzai in his second over when he had the Afghan caught behind for 15 just when he was attempting to hit a few boundaries.

Sam Curran will regret holding back Harshal for the end when he should have bowled him earlier and looked for wickets.

Spinner Harpreet Brar was hit for 13 runs in the 17th over and Rabada was slammed for 20 runs in the following over which all but sealed the deal for the Titans.

By the time Harshal was called back, the result was a forgone conclusion, but he still held his head high. He bowled Shahrukh Khan with a yorker and in the same over had Rashid Khan caught at midwicket.

His double strike came too late as Titans wrapped up victory in the final over.

Harshal could bowl only three overs in which he picked up 3/15.

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Photographs: BCCI

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