Mumbai, April 15 (IANS) More often if not always, it’s the individual brilliance which changes the course of a T20 game and it was not different when Lockie Ferguson’s deceptive yorker and Hardik Pandya’s bullet direct hit turned the tide for Gujarat Titans against Rajasthan Royals in an IPL 2022 match at DY Patil Stadium, here.
A sensational unbeaten half-century by Hardik (87 not out off 52) powered Gujarat Titans to 192/4 in 20 overs. Apart from Hardik, Abhinav Manohar (43 off 28) and David Miller (31 not out off 14) also made valuable contributions with the bat for Gujarat on Thursday.
Chasing a big total, Jos Buttler started the innings in style. The England batter first smashed Mohammed Shami for three back-to-back boundaries in the very first over and he then hit debutant Yash Dayal for two boundaries and a six in the second over. But, Dayal responded by having Devdutt Padikkal caught at slip for a first-ball duck.
After a quiet third over, Buttler once again took Dayal to the cleaners, this time hitting him for three fours and a six. At the end of four overs, Buttler had scored 48 out of the 49 runs Royals had on the board.It was Ferguson, who eventually ended the Buttler carnage in the last ball of the powerplay.
The Kiwi pacer first sent R Ashwin, who was promoted at No 3 back — courtesy of an excellent, low catch from Miller at cover — for a run-a-ball 8. Four balls later, Buttler shuffled across and helped Ferguson over fine leg for a six, bringing up his fifty off just 23 balls. But Ferguson struck again, this time with a slower yorker to castle Buttler.
After Buttler’s dismissal, Rajasthan had high hopes from their skipper but an excellent piece of fielding sent Sanju Samson back to the pavilion. In the third ball of the eighth over in RR’s chase, Samson punched one towards mid-off for a quick single but couldn’t beat Pandya’s solid direct hit.
Once Buttler and Samson got out, it was a mountain to climb for Rajasthan. Lower down the order, Shimron Hetmyer, Riyan Parag and James Neesham tried hard but Rajasthan kept losing wickets at regular intervals and were eventually restricted to 155-9 in 20 overs, losing by 37 runs.
It was Gujarat’s fourth win of the IPL 2022 season and they climbed to the top of the points table with eight points.