Shubman Gill (63 off 36 balls) batted well, but couldn’t take his team home. But with players like Rahul Tewatia and Rashid Khan lower down the order, Gujarat Titans finished their chase of a 179-run target in style and beat Chennai Super Kings by five wickets in the opening game of IPL 2023 at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad on Friday.
The foundation for the Titans win was, however, laid by their bowlers, who did a fabulous job early on, especially in the death overs.
A glittering opening ceremony was followed by fireworks from Super Kings opener Ruturaj Gaikwad after Titans captain Hardik Pandya won the toss and opted to bowl first. But thanks to a disciplined Mohammed Shami (2/29), Rashid (2/26) and Alzarri Joseph (2/33), the Titans, the defending champions, could limit the Super Kings to 178/7 even when they looked set to get much closer to 200, courtesy Gaikwad’s 50-ball 92.
CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad during his 50-ball 92 against Gujarat Titans on Friday. PTI picture
Thereafter, courtesy Gill’s superb strokeplay, the Titans were cruising at 106/2 after 11 overs. That, in spite of Kane Williamson hurting his right leg while making an acrobatic effort to take a catch at the deep. Sai Sudarshan, who had an impressive domestic season for Tamil Nadu and was the Impact Player for the Titans coming in place of Williamson, played within his limitations and gave good support to Gill during their second-wicket stand of 53.
The Super Kings brought in pacer Tushar Deshpande for Ambati Rayudu as their Impact Player. Deshpande did get Gill’s wicket, but went for almost 16 runs an over.
Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni erred a bit in his calculations as barring Deshpande, all his other bowlers had finished their quota of overs. With eight needed off the final over after Rashid hit comeback man Deepak Chahar for a six and a four off consecutive balls in the penultimate over, Deshpande began with a wide first up.
On the next two balls, Rahul Tewatia slammed him for a maximum and a boundary as the defending champions reached home in 19.4 overs.
Rajvardhan Hangargekar (3/36) bowled well for the Super Kings.