In the 39th match of the TATA IPL 2023, Gujarat Titans defeated Kolkata Knight Riders by seven wickets to register their third consecutive victory and take the top position on the points table.
Kolkata Knight Riders were invited to bat first. However, their batsmen struggled against the Gujarat Titans’ bowlers and only managed to score 179/7 in their allotted 20 overs. Mohd. Shami was the pick of the bowlers for Gujarat Titans, picking up three wickets for 33 runs.
Hardik Pandya, the captain of the Gujarat Titans, chose to bowl after winning the toss. The Gujarat Titans had a decent start to the match, with their bowlers Mohd. Shami and Hardik Pandya bowling tightly and causing trouble for N Jagadeesan. Although Jagadeesan managed to hit a few boundaries, he was eventually dismissed by Shami after missing a flick and being trapped right in front. Rahmanullah then stepped up for the Kolkata Knight Riders and hit two sixes off Pandya’s bowling.
Gurbaz, who had been relatively quiet until then, started attacking Shami and hit a boundary and a six in the fifth over. However, Shami bounced back to dismiss Shardul Thakur, and the GT bowlers pulled things back by conceding only 23 runs in the next four overs. Gurbaz reached his half-century off just 27 balls and continued his attacking ways, hitting Rashid Khan for a six and a four in the 10th over.
The GT bowlers continued to build pressure, and Josh Little struck twice in the 11th over to dismiss Venkatesh Iyer and Nitish Rana. Gurbaz hit a couple more sixes but was eventually dismissed by Noor after scoring 81 off 39 balls. Russell then took charge and hit a couple of sixes off Rashid Khan, who had an off day and conceded 54 runs without taking a wicket. Noor took another crucial wicket by dismissing Rinku Singh, and Wiese and Russell added 23 runs off the last two overs to take KKR to a total of 179/7.
In reply, Gujarat Titans chased down Kolkata Knight Riders’ total of 179 with ease to register their one more win of the season. The Titans’ opener, Shubman Gill, set the tone for the chase with a flurry of boundaries in the powerplay, hitting seven fours off KKR’s bowlers. The partnership between Gill and Hardik Pandya was broken by Harshit Rana, who trapped Pandya LBW in the 11th over. KKR struck again in the next over, dismissing Gill for 49 off 35.
David Miller and Vijay Shankar then took charge of the chase and kept the required run rate in check. Miller hit consecutive sixes off Suyash Sharma to inject momentum back into the Titans’ innings, but Russell almost had him in the next over. However, Suyash Sharma was unable to hold on to a tough catch, which proved to be a crucial moment in the game.
With 38 runs required off 24 balls, Shankar went on the attack against Varun Chakaravarthy, hammering three sixes in the over to swing the match in favor of the Titans. He continued his assault on Nitish Rana, hitting a four and a six to bring up his fifty off just 24 balls. The Titans chased down the target with 13 balls and seven wickets to spare, with Shankar remaining unbeaten on 62 off 30 balls.
KKR’s bowlers were unable to contain the Titans’ batsmen, and their fielding also let them down with dropped catches and misfields. The Titans’ performance will be a big boost for them, as they look to build momentum going forward in the tournament.
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