Gujarat Titans’ bowling attack successfully defended 156 to defeat Kolkata Knight Riders by eight runs at DY Patil Stadium on Saturday.
Despite losing seven wickets in the last five overs after Hardik Pandya’s 67 to end at 156/9, Gujarat’s bowling attack clicked in unison, taking four wickets in the first seven overs.
They were also aided by fielders taking some stunning catches to restrict Kolkata to 148/8 in 20 overs. The result means that Gujarat Titans are now on top of the points table.
With a new opening combination in Sam Billings and Sunil Narine, Kolkata’s hopes of a blistering start began well when the former brought out a glorious straight drive against Mohammed Shami. But Shami had the last laugh as Billings top-edged a pull to wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha. Shami then setup Narine with two short balls on body and then slipped one on hips, which the batter pulled uncomfortably to a diving short fine leg.
Nitish Rana fell cheaply, forced to poke at a Lockie Ferguson delivery and took a healthy edge behind to Saha as Gujarat successfully overturned not out decision. Shreyas Iyer had begun to look comfortable at the crease but was undone by over the wicket angle from Yash Dayal and nicked behind to Saha.
Rinku Singh found the boundary rope five times in his stay of 35 and shared a 45-run stand with Venkatesh Iyer. But in an attempt to smash Yash Dayal over mid-wicket, Rinku could only manage a bottom edge going behind to Saha. Venkatesh tried to slog-sweep Rashid Khan but Abhinav Manohar took a stunning catch just in front of deep mid-wicket boundary rope.
In between, Andre Russell got his first boundary with a thickish edge off Dayal over Saha’s head. On the next ball, Russell tried to fend a Dayal bouncer with his bat but the ball flew straight off his bat to fine leg. But Dayal’s jubilation was cut short as replays showed front foot no ball. Russell rubbed salt on wounds by thumping Dayal on back-to-back sixes to end an eventful 13th over.
Russell then smacked a Ferguson full toss over long-off. Khan got out Shivam Mavi and almost had Umesh Yadav lbw with the googly but replays showed ball missing the stumps. With 45 needed off 24 balls, Russell upper cut Shami over backward point for six. Umesh cleared his front leg to swat Ferguson over deep mid-wicket for six more.
Russell hit a six down the ground off Dayal but could manage five runs off rest of the over for the equation to read as 18 off the final over. On the first ball, Russell smashed an Alzarri Joseph full toss over long-on for a huge six.
But Joseph had the last laugh as Russell mistimed a pull to fine leg immediately. That turned out to be a decisive blow for Kolkata as Joseph conceded two, one followed by successive dots to seal a close win for Gujarat.
Brief Scores: Gujarat Titans 156/9 in 20 overs (Hardik Pandya 67, David Miller 27; Andre Russell 4/5, Tim Southee 3/24) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 148/8 in 20 overs (Andre Russell 48, Rinku Singh 35; Mohammed Shami 2/20, Rashid Khan 2/22) by eight runs
(Inputs from IANS)