ujarat Titans. was a win away from becoming the first team in IPL 2022 to make the playoffs, but Punjab Kings restricted their dream after Shikhar Dhawan and Bhanuka Rajapaksascript scripted a eight-wicket victory for their team.
Shikhar Dhawan (62 not out off 53 balls) struck a fine half-century with Sri Lankan Bhanuka Rajapaksa (40 off 28), while pacer Kasigo Rabada scalped snared four wickets after Hardik Pandya opted to bat first.
Skipper Mayank Agarwal dropped himself down the order to accommodate Jonny Bairstow (1) at the top of the order but the move did not work. Liam Livingstone (30 not out off 10) displayed some brutal hitting towards the end of the chase and smashed premier India pacer Mohammad Shami for four sixes including a monstrous 117m hit over deep square leg. The 16th over going for 30 runs also gave a big boost to PBKS’ net run rate.
It was a much-needed win for Punjab, who have struggled for consistency this season with five wins and as many losses.
For Gujarat, who are set to make the play-offs, it was a timely wake-up call to fix their batting issues, especially at the top of the order. They have had somebody or the other to bail them out of tough situations but it was not the case on Tuesday.
Earlier, Sai Sudharsan’s unbeaten 65 off 50 balls was the saving grace in Gujarat’s innings but ran out of partners as Gujarat skipper Hardik Pandya’s decision to elect to bat backfired. Titans lost openers Shubman Gill (9) and Wriddhiman Saha (21) cheaply. Gill, who had struck two boundaries, was dismissed courtesy a direct hit from Rishi Dhawan from cover, in the third over.