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regular-article-logo Monday, 17 June 2024

Wriddhiman Saha, Shubman Gill fire, Lucknow Super Giants face wrath of Titans

Saha and Gill hammer 142 in their opening stand in just 12 overs after Super Giants win toss and opt to bowl first

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 08.05.23, 06:33 AM
Wriddhiman Saha, after scoring his first half-century in this IPL, at the Motera in Ahmedabad on Sunday. (PTI)

Wriddhiman Saha, after scoring his first half-century in this IPL, at the Motera in Ahmedabad on Sunday. (PTI) PTI Photo

Wriddhiman Saha (81 off 43 balls) and Shubman Gill (94 not out off 51 balls) produced blazing knocks that laid the foundation for Gujarat Titans' comprehensive 56-run win over Lucknow Super Giants at the Motera in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Courtesy their eighth win, the Titans cemented their lead at the top with 16 points and have one foot in the playoffs.

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Saha and Gill hammered 142 in their opening stand in just 12 overs after the Super Giants won the toss and opted to bowl first. Thanks to their opening duo, the Titans registered their highest-ever total of 227/2.

Gujarat Titans’ Shubman Gill during his Man-of-the-Match winning innings of 94 not out off 51 balls against Lucknow Super Giants in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Gujarat Titans’ Shubman Gill during his Man-of-the-Match winning innings of 94 not out off 51 balls against Lucknow Super Giants in Ahmedabad on Sunday. PTI picture

In pursuit of 228, the Super Giants stroked their way to a strong 102/1 with openers Kyle Mayers (48) and Quinton de Kock (70), in his first appearance of this IPL, hammering 88 in just over eight overs. But once the Mayers-De Kock pair was separated, the wheels came off.

The Super Giants' middle order crumbled in the tall chase as they finished at 171/7.

Medium pacer Mohit Sharma starred again with 4/29, while Mohammed Shami, Rashid Khan and his Afghan teammate Noor Ahmad took one wicket apiece to paralyse the Super Giants in their tough chase.

Explosive start

Going back to the Saha-Gill partnership, it was the former India keeper-batter who gave the Titans' scoring rate an early boost in the Powerplay by taking on almost every rival bowler. Saha's shots were by no means extravagant, nor did he try to be too experimental.

Off the 10 boundaries and four maximums he stroked, almost each one of them were proper cricketing shots. Pick-up shots over mid-wicket, crunching pulls over square leg and long leg, along with a drive over extra-cover that went all the way, were some of the gorgeous strokes Saha unleashed, racing to his first fifty of this IPL in just 20 balls.

Producing impact-making knocks in this IPL did play a part in Ajinkya Rahane's recall to the India squad for the World Test Championship final against Australia. If Saha goes on to maintain this consistency, one shouldn't be too surprised if there's good news for him as well going forward.

Besides, KL Rahul will not be available for the WTC final, while the Indian team management, it is learnt, doesn't have much confidence in KS Bharat for such a big game.

Shubman joins party

After Saha's departure, it was time for Gill show. Seven sixes and a couple of boundaries adorned his knock, which was also peppered with good running between the wickets.

Gill was a tad unfortunate to miss out on what would have been a well-deserved maiden IPL hundred. But at the end of the day, he wasn't too disappointed either and also heaped praise on Saha.

"Saha is fantastic to bat with and we share a bond. The way he maintains his fitness and supports from the other end is phenomenal," Gill, adjudged Man of the Match, said.

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