The IPL’s defending champion Gujarat Titans defeated Kolkata Knight Riders by seven wickets on Saturday, winning by that margin and moving to the top of the standings.
The Titans, who lost their home game thanks to Rinku Singh’s heroics, got some sweet payback. First, after Hardik Pandya decided to bowl, the Titans’ speed pair of Mohammad Shami (3/33) and Josh Little (2/25) both claimed five wickets, and left-arm spinner Noor Ahmad (2/21) kept up his stellar form by limiting KKR to a subpar 179/7.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz set the tone with a brilliant 39-ball 81 on a batting-friendly surface, but KKR only managed 45 runs and dropped three wickets in the final five overs to fall short of the psychological 200-run threshold. In response, GT quickly reached the mark in 17.5 overs, with Vijay Shankar scoring 51 runs off 24 balls (2×4, 5×6) while remaining unbeaten.
A perfect Shubman Gill was dismissed by the home team as they were defending the pitiful total, and they nearly had David Miller on 26 when they did. However, they committed a sort of harakiri when Miller’s skier, which would have been an easy catch for their wicketkeeper, was attempted by Suyash Sharma from third man and he ultimately grassed it.
GT still needed 51 runs from 29 balls at that point, but Shankar and Miller (32 not out; 18b, 2×4, 2×6) sealed the deal with an unbroken 87-run partnership that came off 39 balls, which proved to be a game-changing moment.
The win took GT to the top spot in the table with 12 points from eight matches, as they need to win two more matches to seal the playoff berth for the second time on the trot. KKR, on the other hand, is staring at early elimination after enduring their sixth defeat from nine matches, and they now face the challenge of winning all their remaining five matches.