Sai Kishore’s four-for, Tewatia’s finishing act push Titans towards top half

Gujarat Titans 146 for 7 (Tewatia 36*, Gill 35, Harshal 3-15) beat Punjab Kings 142 (Prabhsimran 35, Brar 29, Sai Kishore 4-33) by three wickets

The first 11 overs of Gujarat Titans’ spin won them the match, essentially. Before Rashid Khan came on to bowl the fifth over, Punjab Kings were going nicely, at 42 for no loss.
Then Rashid bowls a four-run over, and the Titans slow-bowling show begins in Mohali. He and compatriot Noor Ahmad lock up the early part of the middle overs, taking three wickets between them. That’s before left-arm spinner Sai Kishore rocks up and wrecks Kings’ middle over, taking 4 for 33.
Kings manage no more than 142, but make a fist of the defence, with Harshal Patel taking three wickets for 15, and Liam Livingstone taking two wickets with his offbreaks. In the end, they didn’t have a great total to defend, nor the slow-bowling quality that Titans had. The visiting team eased home with five balls to spare.

Titans’ spinners wreck Punjab Kings

Rashid made himself almost impossible to hit. He bowled a three-run fifth over when Kings had been going at 10.50, previously. Noor, the left-arm wristspinner, then had Rilee Russouw lbw in the seventh over to kick off the period of massive spin dominance, in which six more would fall to the slow bowlers.

Rashid and Noor bowled in tandem in the five overs after the powerplay and gave away only 24 runs, taking two wickets. Then came Sai Kishore, and by this stage Kings were desperate for boundaries. They kept trying to hit out against him, but he varied his pace and flight beautifully, and kept deceiving them.

His first dismissal – Jitesh Sharma – came via hitting the stumps. His second, was the prized wicket of Ashutosh Sharma, who holed out to the sweeper cover. He later had Shashank Singh caught and bowled, and Harpreet Brar caught at the straight boundary at the death.

All up, the spinners took 7 for 68 from their 12 overs.

It’s not like Titans were in serious trouble, but they needed someone to come in and play the match-winning batting innings nonetheless. And Rahul Tewatia was the guy once more. At one stage, Titans needed 38 runs off the last four overs, with five wickets in hand. A couple of wickets for Kings right then would have changed the match completely.

But Tewatia hit two fours off Brar’s over to bring the required rate back in hand, and restore Titans’ grip on the match. Then he hit three fours – two clubbed down the ground, and one tickled through fine leg – off Kagiso Rabada’s 18th over, in which Shahrukh Khan also hit a six. They reaped 20 runs there, and essentially made the game safe, bringing the requirement to five off 12 balls.

Some Kings players shone, but too briefly to make a defining impact on the game. The first of these was Prabhsimran Singh, who smoked three sixes and three fours in the 35 off 21 balls that raised the Kings innings off the ground. He was out before the powerplay ended though.

When they were defending their poor score, Livingstone took 2 for 19 from his four overs, and Harshal Patel and Sam Curran backed him up – Harshal taking three wickets and Curran one. But Kings had lost too much ground already with the bat.