Gujarat Titans give it their all, but KKR clinch a thriller

Some memorable individual performances from our Gujarat Titans nearly took us over the line, but Kolkata Knight Riders took it away by the barest of margins.

If ever you needed a heart-thumping thriller, this was one. The matches turned up and down in both teams’ favour multiple times, getting the fans more nervy than a roller-coaster ride could do.

Eventually, it was a heartbreak for our Gujarat Titans as Kolkata Knight Riders clinched a thrilling encounter that went down to the final delivery.

Earlier Rashid Khan, our captain for the evening, won the toss and elected to bat first. After Wriddhiman Saha’s dismissal, our young guns Shubman Gill and Sai Sudharsan kept the scorecard ticking. The duo played some delightful shots and added 67 runs for the second wicket, before Gill departed for another well-compiled knock.

(Milestone Alert: Shubman Gill became the second youngest cricketer after Rishabh Pant to complete 2,000 TATA IPL runs)

Sudharsan completed his second half-century on the trot, continuing his good form with the bat this season. The stage was well set for our eventual star of the day to take over. Vijay Shankar walked out to bat in the 14th over and produced a finish for the ages.

He started on a cautious note and saved his best for the last. He smashed two fours and two sixes in the 19th over, aggregating 25 runs in the overs for us. He topped it with a hat trick of sixes in the final over, registering 63 off just 24 balls and remained unbeaten.

We registered our first 200+ total in TATA IPL and finished with 204/4 in the first innings.

After the break, it was Mohammad Shami providing the first breakthrough once again. He dismissed the in-form Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Joshua Little, our Impact Player of the day (replaced Sai Sudharsan), instantly removed the other opener.

The joy of those wickets was curbed for a while, with Venkatesh Iyer and KKR captain Nitish Rana building a solid partnership. The duo added 100 runs for the third wicket, with Iyer scoring a quickfire half-century. However, the Titans kept their calm and provided a timely breakthrough at the right time.

Our Caribbean speedster Alzarri Joseph dismissed both the well-set batters in a space of two overs, bringing the Gujarat Titans right back on top.

Skipper Rashid took the first hattrick of TATA IPL 2023, dismissing the dangerous Andre Russell, Sunil Narine and Shardul Thakur in a row and seemed to have settled the score in our favour. But Rinku Singh produced a sensational finish, smashing five sixes off the final over and took his side past the winning line.

It was a tough loss for our Titans, but we return to action soon in Mohali against Punjab Kings on April 13.