Gujarat Titans roared back to winning ways with a six-wicket victory over Punjab Kings after Mohit Sharma’s excellent return to the IPL and Shubman Gill’s 49-ball 67 on Thursday. Medium pacer Mohit marked his comeback with figures of 2/18 as holders GT restricted PBKS to 153 for eight. Playing in his first game in the league since 2020, Mohit was exceptional in the penultimate over, giving away as little as six runs. When his turn to bat came, Gill led the way with his fine half-century as GT completed the chase of 154 in 19.5 overs, four days after suffering a heartbreaking loss to Kolkata Knight Riders. Having done duty as the team’s net bowler last season, Mohit, who has also played for the Indian team including in the World Cup, mixed his pace and varied his lengths well throughout his spell.
Later, the young Gill once again showed his class with a quality innings that contained seven fours and a six.
From GT’s point of view, it was extremely important that Gill stayed on till the end, especially after the dismissal of captain Hardik Pandya with the team still 48 runs away from their third victory in 34 balls.
For PBKS, Matthew Short top-scored with a 24-ball 36 but it was Masood Shahrukh Khan’s nine-ball 22, which helped the team cross 150.
GT were off to a flyer and scored 56 in the six powerplay overs with the Gill going great guns.
Meanwhile, PBKS’ lead pacer Kagiso Rabada became the fastest to 100 wickets in the IPL, when he had Wriddhiman Saha (30 off 19 balls) caught at deep square leg off a short ball.
The South Africa speedster took just 64 games to reach the landmark, six matches fewer than Lasith Malinga’s 70.
Earlier, sent in to bat after the coin landed in favor of the returning GT skipper Hardik, PBKS lost Prabhsimran Singh in the second ball of the over when his attempted flick off a length ball from Mohammed Shami went straight to Rashid Khan at short midwicket.
Prabhsimran departed without scoring.
Short walked in at number three and he got off the mark with a boundary, striking the ball through point. The next ball was short, and Short pulled the seasoned India seamer through the square leg region for another four.
Sharing the new ball with Shami, Joshua Little was greeted with two boundaries by the in-form Shikhar Dhawan. While the first one was lofted over cover, Dhawan produced a delightful shot in the next ball, caressing the ball past mid-off in what was a high-class cover drive.
Australia’s Short, who has done well for Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League back home, took on Shami and hit him for back-to-back fours including an authoritative boundary through mid-off.
However, just when PBKS seemed to be putting GT under pressure Little gave his team a huge breakthrough, dismissing the dangerous Dhawan (8) who came down the track to play the lofted shot, only to end up giving a catch to Alzarri Joseph.
GT got another big wicket when the ever-reliable Rashid (1/26 in 4 overs) foxed a well-settled Short with a googly with PBKS’s score reading 55 for three in the seventh over.
Having struck a flurry of fours and a massive six off Joseph, Short had settled down nicely but looked clueless when Rashid decided to bowl the wrong’un.
Short’s dismissal set PBKS a bit, and it became trickier when Jitesh Sharma (25 off 23 balls) was sent back by Mohit, thanks to a smart piece of work by Wriddhiman behind the wickets.
Sam Curran (22) struck a much-needed six — a big maximum over deep midwicket after star leg-spinner Rashid missed his length.
Sri Lankan Bhanuka Rajapaksa did not convince in his 26-ball 20, until his stay in the middle was cut short by Joseph.
Shahrukh Khan smashed the first ball he faced for a six over deep midwicket, before picking up another maximum off Shami.
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