Tewatia, Miller take Titans past the finish line


Sangwan
impresses with a fine spell; Kohli’s first fifty in 14 matches to no avail

Sangwan
impresses with a fine spell; Kohli’s first fifty in 14 matches to no avail

Virat Kohli’s first fifty (58, 53b, 6×4, 1×6) in 14 Indian Premier League matches went in vain as an all-round performance from Gujarat Titans saw Hardik Pandya & Co. romp to a six-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore to retain the top spot in the standings with its fifth successive win.

Turning the clock back

Kohli on Saturday turned the clock back, exhibiting nimble footwork and impeccable timing. However, RCB ended up a few runs short on the batting-friendly track at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai; 203 being the average winning first innings total here.

Pradeep Sangwan was impressive in his comeback game for the Titans, finishing with figures of 4-0-19-2.

Rahul Tewatia (43, 25b, 5×4, 2×6), later adjudged Player-of-the-Match, and David Miller (39, 24b, 4×4, 1×6) came good again at the death, registering an unbeaten 79-run stand off 40 deliveries.

RCB, having chosen to bat, lost Faf du Plessis for a duck. However, even though Hardik was actively involved in making field changes and encouraging his bowlers, Kohli initially kept picking the gaps with considerable ease. But his strike rate took a nosedive to a final 109.43 after Rajat Patidar (52, 32b, 5×4, 2×6) fell.

Mohammad Shami got Kohli out in the 17th over with a yorker, which crashed into the base of off-stump.

Dinesh Karthik and Glenn Maxwell made their way back into the hut shortly after.

Mahipal Lomror’s relief after being caught off a dead ball in the final over, when the ball made contact with a transmission cable, was short-lived as he perished off the final ball.

Tactical error

The GT openers, chasing 175, escaped the PowerPlay unhurt. RCB may have committed a tactical error in not using Wanindu Hasaranga in the first six overs.

A point he proved when he removed Wriddhiman Saha (29, 22b, 4×4) with the wrong’un immediately after being introduced in the eighth over.

His bowling average in T20I is a miserly 10.10 in the PowerPlay, compared to 16.27 between overs seven and 16.

Shahbaz seemed to be turning things around with two big wickets — Shubman Gill (31, 28b, 3×4, 1×6) and Hardik in his second and third overs.

However, GT, which entered the death overs with Tewatia and Miller at the crease, got over the line with effortless ease.



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