Kagiso Rabada's excellent four-fer (4/33) and Shikhar Dhawan's fine fifty (62 not out off 53) led Punjab Kings to a convincing eight-wicket win over Gujarat Titans in Match No. 48 of IPL 2022 at the Dr. D.Y Patil Stadium, here on Tuesday. With this win, Punjab jumped to the fifth spot in the table with 10 points while it was only the second loss for table-toppers Gujarat in the ongoing IPL 2022 season. Rabada's superb four-fer helped Punjab Kings restrict Gujarat Titans to 143/8 in 20 overs despite a hard-fought fifty by Sai Sudharsan (64 not out off 50) after losing the toss and bowling first. Sudharsan, who came to bat at No 3, was the lone warrior with the bat for Gujarat, who kept losing wickets at regular intervals during their innings. After Sudharsan, Wriddhiman Saha (21 off 17) was the second-highest scorer for GT. Apart from Rabada (4/33), the likes of Rishi Dhawan (1/26), Liam Livingstone (1/15), and Arshdeep Singh (1/35) also chipped in with one wicket each for Punjab. Chasing a modest target, Punjab tried a different opening combo where Jonny Bairstow replaced Mayank Agarwal alongside Shikhar Dhawan. However, Bairstow (1) fell cheaply getting a top edge against a Mohammad Shami short ball in the 3rd over of the innings.
The early wicket brought an opportunity for Gujarat while defending a small total but Shikhar Dhawan and Bhanuka Rajapaksa played counter-attacking knocks. Dhawan was ruthless with anything having a little width, and played the lofted drive to perfection during the powerplay while Rajapaksa relied a lot more on his power and managed to muscle the ball for boundaries as soon as he came in. The duo of Dhawan and Rajapaksa (40 off 28) stitched a vital partnership of 87 off 58 balls for the second wicket before the Sri Lankan batter was trapped LBW in the 12th over. With eight wickets in hand, Punjab had the opportunity to finish the game early and Liam Livingstone (30 off 10) did it with perfection. Livingstone smashed 6, 6, 6, 4, 2, 4 against Mohammed Shami which allowed Punjab to finish the chase inside 16 overs and give their net run rate a fillip. Mohammed Shami (1/43) and Lockie Ferguson (1/29) were the wicket-takers for Gujarat. Earlier, Gujarat were off to a terrible start, losing the wickets of both openers Wriddhiman Saha (21 off 17) and Shubman Gill (9 off 6) inside the first four overs. In the first ball of the 3rd over, Gill pushed the ball to cover and went for a quick single, but Liam Livingstone was sharp on the field, hitting the stumps at the non-striker's end while on the move to catch the GT opener short of his crease.
Gill had a few complaints against the bowler Sandeep Sharma, seemingly accusing him of being in the way but that wasn't really the case as Sandeep stood his ground after a follow-through and was merely watching the ball. On the other hand, Saha showed his aggressive intent right from the beginning and looked in fine touch before he was dismissed by Rabada on a cross-seam delivery, leaving Gujarat at 34-2 after 3.5 overs. From there on, skipper Hardik Pandya and Sai Sudharsan batted cautiously and took GT to 42/2 in 6 overs. After the end of the powerplay, the Punjab skipper brought Rishi Dhawan into the attack and he got the big wicket of Hardik (1) in the sent ball of his over, putting Gujarat in trouble. Punjab didn't take their foot off the pedal for the next three-four overs and maintained the constant pressure on Sudarshan and David Miller with disciplined bowling. With runs not coming easily for Gujarat, Miller (11) looked to release the pressure against the tossed-up delivery bowled by Livingstone but he was found by Rabada at long-off. Though Sudharshan was struggling to find his timing for a majority of his innings, he held one end up. However, the left-hander didn't get any kind of support from the lower down batters Rahul Tewatia (11), Rashid Khan (0), Pradeep Sangwan (2) Lockie Ferguson (5) who couldn't do much. With 129-8 after 18.2 overs, Gujarat were in a position to get bowled out but Sudarshan showed his temperament and hit a few precious boundaries, in the end, to help Gujarat Titans finish with 143/8 in 20 overs. Apart from Rabada (4/33), the likes of Rishi Dhawan (1/26), Liam Livingstone (1/15), and Arshdeep Singh (1/35) also chipped in with one wicket each for Punjab.
Brief scores: Gujarat Titans 143/8 in 20 overs (Sai Sudharsan 64 not out, Wriddhiman Saha 21; Kagiso Rabada 4/33) lost to Punjab Kings 145-2 in 16 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 62 not out, Bhanuka Rajapaksalbw 40; Lockie Ferguson 1/29) by 8 wickets