GT take big step towards playoffs with thumping win over RR | Crickit
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GT take big step towards playoffs with thumping win over RR

By, Mumbai
May 05, 2023 10:34 PM IST

Riding on a high-class bowling performance, Pandya's team won by nine wickets

After losing all three matches against Gujarat Titans last year, including the final, Rajasthan Royals got one back at their rivals in the first half of Indian Premier League 2023. But on Friday, in the second clash between the two teams this season, it was the holders who registered a thumping victory.

Gujarat Titans' Noor Ahmad (2L) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Rajasthan Royals' Devdutt Padikkal(AFP)
Gujarat Titans' Noor Ahmad (2L) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Rajasthan Royals' Devdutt Padikkal(AFP)

Riding on a high-class bowling performance, GT beat RR by nine wickets at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. Rajasthan were bowled out for a mere 118 in 17.5 overs, before Gujarat finished with 119/1 in 13.5 overs to move three points clear at the top of the table.

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At 47/1 in five overs, RR found themselves in a promising position. But it was all GT thereafter. From 60/2, RR collapsed to 96/8 as their entire middle order perished for a total of 36 runs inside seven overs.

It all started with the early wicket of Jos Buttler. When the English opener is in form, RR look like a different beast. He was the highest run-scorer of the tournament last year, miles ahead of second-placed KL Rahul, and began this season with three half-centuries in four knocks. But he’s managed just 93 runs, with two ducks, in his six innings since. On Friday, he cracked consecutive boundaries off Hardik Pandya but was caught at short-third the next ball.

Soon after, the in-form Jaiswal was run-out after a mixup with Samson and GT knew they had a huge opening. Next, Samson’s dismissal was a familiar one for anyone who’s followed his career – some dazzling strokes followed by the softest of dismissals.

Just 41 balls into the match, Rajasthan had lost three of their biggest guns. But the highlight of the contest – an irresistible spell by the Afghan duo of Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmad – was just about to begin.

R Ashwin, promoted to No. 5, was beaten twice before being cleaned up by a Rashid Khan leg-spinner. It was a beautiful setup with a devastating killer blow. Riyan Parag, in next, was trapped in front by a delivery that spun the other way.

With RR having lost half their side inside 10 overs, it was Ahmad’s turn to join the party. The left-arm wrist spinner sent Devdutt Padikkal’s off stump for a walk before trapping the dangerous Dhruv Jurel in front. Finally, Khan got Shimron Hetmyer out leg-before to seal RR’s fate.

All five wickets taken by Khan (3/14) and Ahmad (2/25) saw batters offer defensive strokes and get deceived. It was a memorable exhibition of spin bowling by the compatriots.

As the pitch had no real demon in it, the only option with the ball for RR was to go for wickets. They needed early strikes to have any chance but unfortunately for the home fans, that didn’t happen.

Shubman Gill and Wriddhiman Saha found boundaries consistently and put on a 71-run opening partnership. Yuzvendra Chahal got Gill stumped in the 10th over, but Pandya smashed three sixes and a four off Adam Zampa in the next over as GT went on to win with 37 balls to spare.

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