GT’s Mohit Sharma ‘slows down’ SRH to set up victory | Crickit
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GT’s Mohit Sharma ‘slows down’ SRH to set up victory

Mar 31, 2024 08:22 PM IST

Sunrisers Hyderabad, who hit an IPL record 277 in the previous game, were restricted as Gujarat Titans registered their second win

Returning to Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium for the first time since he led Australia to victory in the ODI World Cup final last November, Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper Pat Cummins won the toss again on Sunday. However, unlike the last time, he opted to bat and saw his team suffer a seven-wicket defeat against Gujarat Titans.

Ahmedabad: Gujarat Titans' Mohit Sharma celebrates the wicket of Sunrisers' Hyderabad's Washington Sundar during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 T20 cricket match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Gujarat Titans(PTI)
Ahmedabad: Gujarat Titans' Mohit Sharma celebrates the wicket of Sunrisers' Hyderabad's Washington Sundar during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 T20 cricket match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Gujarat Titans(PTI)

On a pitch that wasn’t the most conducive for stroke play in the first half of the match, SRH posted 162/8 as none of their batters could get to 30. In reply, GT rode on a 64-run partnership between Sai Sudharsan and David Miller to finish with 168/3 in 19.1 overs.

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Having notched up the highest total in IPL history in their previous game against Mumbai Indians, the Sunrisers batters wouldn’t have lacked confidence heading into the game. But the conditions this time were a lot different. With the sun beating down, the pitch played slow with the bounce low and consistently spongy.

Travis Head (19 off 14) and Mayank Agarwal (16 off 17) were off to a decent start before the latter was caught attempting a pull shot for the third time in as many innings this season. Head, who had hit a blazing 62 against MI, seemed to be in good touch initially but got to face just five balls in a span of four overs. The result was Noor Ahmad, playing his first game this season, knocking the left-hander’s stumps over just after the powerplay.

Abhishek Sharma (29 off 20) and Heinrich Klaasen (24 off 13), the other two batters who had blown away the MI bowlers, also got starts but were sent packing by Mohit Sharma and Rashid Khan respectively. While Abhishek was deceived by a superb slower ball, Klaasen’s stumps were rattled by the star Afghanistan leg-spinner.

At 114/5 in the 15th over with Aidan Markram (17 off 19) back in the hut as well, SRH found themselves in serious trouble. But Shahbaz Ahmed (22 off 20) played a crucial hand at No. 6 before Abdul Samad (29 off 14) struck some blows at the death to take the 2016 champions to a competitive total.

For GT, Mohit was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3/25 from his four overs. The 25-year-old right-arm pacer, who took 27 wickets last season, used the slower ball cleverly again to dismiss Abhishek, Shahbaz and Washington Sundar.

The required rate for GT was just above eight runs an over and they never let it get out of hand. Wriddhiman Saha (25 off 13) was explosive at the start and put on a 36-run opening stand with Gill, who went on to add 38 runs for the second wicket with Impact Player Sudharsan.

Gill, however, couldn’t go on to get a big one and was dismissed for a 28-ball 36 by Mayank Markande. The 24-year-old, who won the Orange Cap last season for amassing a staggering 890 runs, has done well in leading GT to two wins in three games so far, but is yet to find his best with the bat.

One of the most interesting moves in the match came from Cummins (1/28), as he brought himself into the attack only in the second half of Gujarat’s innings. In Hyderabad’s previous match, which saw over 500 runs being scored, the 30-year-old was the standout bowler with figures of 2/35. This time, perhaps, he held himself back until a bit too late.

Sudharsan (45 off 36) and Miller (44* off 27) got together with GT needing 90 runs to win off 65 balls and the two left-handers paced their third-wicket partnership smartly to control the chase. They relied on singles and doubles along with the odd boundary for the most part before hitting Markande for 24 runs in the 16th over to all but seal the deal.

With 25 runs needed off 24 balls, Cummins ended Sudharsan’s fine innings with a short delivery. But Miller hit him for two fours later in the over and went on to close out the game comfortably along with Vijay Shankar.

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