The Punjab Kings were imposing in an eight-wicket win over the Gujarat Titans at the DY Patil Stadium on Tuesday night with a clinical all-round performance in their second encounter of the Tata Indian Premier League 2022.
The Punjab Kings chased down the Titans’ 143/8 with 16 deliveries left, courtesy a 28-run over from Liam Livingstone off Mohammed Shami.
The Gujarat Titans defied expectations earlier when Hardik Pandya won the toss and decided to bat first, leaving Mayank Agarwal to bowl first as he wished.
A successful direct-hit from Rishi Dhawan at covers in the third over to end Shubman Gill’s stay set the tone early on for the game. By the end of the fourth over, pacer Kagiso Rabada had inflicted further damage on the Titans, reducing GT to 34/2 in four overs.
The Titans could add only eight more runs to their scoreboard before the end of the powerplay. Soon after, Rishi Dhawan picked up their captain, Hardik Pandya’s wicket, sending him away for 1 (7). With Sai Sudharsan and David Miller at the crease, the Kings allowed GT to get to only 62/3 in the first 10 overs.
However, in that 10th over, Rahul Chahar hurt himself while looking to gather a throw and had to walk off in the middle of his over, with Liam Livingstone to complete the proceedings. In his next over, the Englishman struck gold by taking out Miller for just 11 (14), with Rabada taking a simple catch at long-off to send the batter away.
Rahul Tewatia joined Sudharsan in the middle. The latter immediately hit a delivery down the leg side, scoring the team’s first four in close to 50 deliveries. A 45-run stand ensued between the two youngsters that was broken by South African pacer Kagiso Rabada who removed Tewatia before he could cause any fireworks tonight.
He followed the good work up by sending Rashid Khan back for a golden duck, and the Titans were on weak footing at 114/6 at the end of the 17th over, with three wickets for the Proteas pacer.
Arshdeep Singh and Rabada then bowled in tandem to keep the scoreboard in check for the Titans, restricting them to 143/8 at the end of 20 overs, despite some shots from Sudharsan at the end, who remained unbeaten at 65* (50). Rabada ended with 4/33, rising to third in the race for the Purple Cap this season, by taking his tally to 17.
English batter Jonny Bairstow came out to open the game with Shikhar Dhawan. When the former departed after scoring just a single run, Dhawan and his new partner, Bhanuka Rajapaksa eased things out for the Kings post the initial hiccup.
A calm and composed Dhawan, along with Rajapaksa at his explosive best, hardly made mistakes on this night. They moved the scorecard to 43/1 at the end of the powerplay. From there on, until the 10th over, only one boundary came from each of the players, but they rotated the strike well, got quick singles, and turned singles into doubles wherever possible to keep the asking rate in check. By the halfway point, the team was comfortably placed at 76/1.
Dhawan brought up his third half-century of the season with a four pounded down past mid-off, which was followed by a maximum from Rajapaksa, taking him to 40. However, the Sri Lankan batter fell immediately after, registering 40 (28), but the damage was done and Liam Livingstone, the next batter in, knew how to make the best of this situation.
At the end of the 13th over, the Kings were sailing at 104/2, needing 40 runs off 44 deliveries. While Rashid Khan’s overs were economical ones for the Titans, the Kings did not have to worry much as the required run rate was very well under control. By the 15th over, the team was at 117/2, needing 27 off the last five overs.
Livingstone, on strike next against Mohammed Shami, who had given away only 15 runs in his three overs so far, decided to finish the game early and pocket brownie points to help the net run rate.
Five out of the next six deliveries were boundaries, three sixes, two fours, and a couple of runs in between. Livingstone smashed Shami for 28 runs in the 16th over to finish the game for the Kings. Their last over read - 6, 6, 6, 4, 2, 4
Dhawan finished with 62* (53) and Livingstone with 30* (10) to take the Punjab Kings to the fifth position on the points table. The team now has 10 points in as many matches and is set to face Rajasthan Royals in a few days.