Mohali, Apr 14, 2023, IANS
Mohali, April 14 (IANS): Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya did not expect their clash with Punjab Kings to be a close affair after restricting their opponents to a small total and said they will go back to the drawing board to analyse the reason for that.
Opener Shubman Gill notched up his second half-century of IPL 2023 while fast bowler Mohit Sharma marked his comeback in the tournament with a stellar spell to lead the way for Gujarat Titans to beat Punjab Kings by six wickets at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium on Thursday.
Mohit Sharma shone through with his 2-18 in four overs as he led a clinical bowling performance from Gujarat to restrict Punjab to 153/8.
The defending champions were on course for a comfortable chase, thanks to Gill's serene 67 off 49 balls. With seven runs needed off the final over, after Arshdeep Singh conceded only six runs in the 19th, Gill survived a run-out chance, before Sam Curran uprooted his off-stump on the very next ball, bringing sudden tension into the match.
After Curran nailed two back-to-back yorkers, David Miller completed the second run with a desperate dive. With four runs needed off the last two balls, Rahul Tewatia calmly finished off the chase by moving across and scooping a full ball from Curran over short fine-leg for four to seal victory for Gujarat with a ball to spare.
"To be very honest, I would not appreciate the game going this close from the situation we were in. There was definitely a lot for us to learn from this game. That's the beauty of sports, it's never over till it's over. So we will go back to the drawing board. I think we can take a couple more risks in the middle overs," Hardik Pandya said during the post-match presentation ceremony on Thursday night.
"It will be a tough pill to swallow, taking it this close. Not a big fan of taking the game to the last over," said Hardik Pandya.
Thursday's victory was Gujarat's third win of the ongoing season and takes them to third place on the points table, while Punjab were handed their second loss of the tournament. Mohit, a previous Purple Cap winner in the IPL, was a net bowler for Gujarat in clinching their maiden title last year.
"The wicket was good but because of the hardness of the soil and wicket, the ball was getting dried up. It was a belter when the new ball was playing. I was not surprised when Mohit and Alzarri came. They bowled terrific," said Pandya.
The India T20 captain, who has led Gujarat Titans to the title in their maiden attempt in IPL 2022, praised young pacer Mohit Sharma for his performance in the match. Mohit Sharma had joined Gujarat Titans as a net bowler before getting an IPL contract.
"All credit to Mohit. To come to join us as a net bowler and then wait for his chance, knowing his time will come and today it came," said the Gujarat Titans captain who returned to action after missing the previous game due to a niggle.
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