Rahul Tewatia, David Miller and Rashid Khan you have done this with a stick several times; Tuesday, Rashid the bowler turned the star for the Titans against the Lucknow Super Giants at the MCA International Stadium in Pune.
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Recently, Brian Lara, current hitting coach at Rashid’s former Sunrisers Hyderabad team, said Rashid “isn’t exactly a player and only restricts running”. The wizard from Afghanistan must have made Lara chew his words with a magical 4/24 performance that led the Titans to an easy 62-round victory while defending a modest 144/4. Rashid found a capable partner to turn in left-handed orthodox R Sai Kishore (2/7) as the Super Giants were knocked out in just 82.
With Gujarat leading the battle for the Premier League, the team led by Hardik Pandy became the first team to enter the playoffs in this year’s IPL.
If the spinners did a trick for Gujarat, the pacemakers from Lucknow showed the show in the first changes of the game. The ball was rolled by the left-handed fast bowler Mohsin Khan; Dushmantha Chameera made sure there were no concessions; Avesh Khan got the door in the middle phase; in the end, Jason Holder made sure Gujarat baters didn’t bloom much.
Mohsin, one of the discoveries of this year’s IPL, hit the first one and was able to get the door of both openers. The first ball Wriddhiman Saha poke on the away delivery, and the ball fell just before the first slip. The last ball was over Shubman Gill to play a full-blooded cut, and it belonged to the third player, but it fell in front of the field again.
Chameera continued frugally. In the third overt, Mohsin defeated Saha with a well-disguised off-cutter that Gujarat the opener aimed straight at the midfielder. After three overtures, Gujarat was 13/1. Matthew Wade came on one drop and hit Chameer for consecutive limits, which slightly increased the scoring rate. Aussie played shot-a-ball and it proved costly against Avesh. Wade tried to pull off a rather lengthy delivery, but only managed to cram it straight into the hands of the goalkeeper.
Hardik Pandya entered next and, in the company of Shubman Gill, brought the illusion of stability into the innings. But Pandy’s stay on the crease was interrupted by a lift from Avesh who went away, which the Gujarati helmsman cut hard on, but only managed to bounce to the guard.
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Gill (63 did not fall out of 49b; 7×4) and David Miller (26 of 24b; 1×4, 1×6) not only had to save the Gujarat substitution from further breakdowns, but also increase the running speed of the pedestrians. The duo added 52 for the fourth pass before Miller cut a wide slower ball from Holder straight to a deep third player.
In the last four overs, Gill and Rahul Tewatia (22 not out of 16b; 4×4) collected 41 runs that pushed Gujarat to 144/4 overall. Tewatia, in particular, was tough on Holder in the final, removing three borders from West Indiana.