Recent Match Report – Royals vs Titans 48th Match 2023
Gujarat Titans 119 for 1 (Saha 41*, Hardik 39*, Chahal 1-22) beat Rajasthan Royals 118 (Samson 30, Rashid 3-14, Noor 2-25) by nine wickets
Clinical. That’s what Gujarat Titans were against Rajasthan Royals on Friday night in Jaipur. After bowling out Royals for a mere 118, they chased the target down in just 13.5 overs with nine wickets still in hand.
The powerplay battle
Coming into this game, the Titans had the best economy powerplay economy rate in IPL 2023. Royals, meanwhile, had the best scoring rate in that phase. And Jaipur got to witness a bit of both. Mohammed Shami got the new ball to move in the opening over, and despite using their feet to counter the movement, Jaiswal and Jos Buttler could manage only one run off the bat.
From the other end, Hardik got Buttler caught at short third after being hit for two successive fours. But Royals stuck with their attacking template. Jaiswal hit Shami for six and four in the third over and Samson did the same to Hardik in the fourth.
Royals seemed to be winning the powerplay battle before a misunderstanding between Jaiswal and Samson resulted in the former being run out. Samson cut Rashid towards backward point where Manohar dived to his left to make a partial stop. Jaiswal was more than three-fourths down when he realised Samson had hardly moved. Unfortunately for him, Manohar’s deflection went towards Mohit Sharma at short third whose throw to Rashid found Jaiswal well short.
The Afghan magic
R Ashwin entered at No. 5 to try to arrest the collapse. But he lasted only six balls as Rashid pinged his off stump with a legbreak, forcing Royals to bring in Riyan Parag as their Impact Player. That meant Royals would have only five specialist bowlers in the second innings; the original plan might have been to bring in left-arm seamer Kuldip Yadav. The move didn’t work. Rashid’s googly trapped him lbw for 4.
Rashid was taken off after his third over. But there was no respite for the Royals. Noor struck with his third ball, uprooting Devdutt Padikkal’s off stump for a run-a-ball 12. In his next over, he had Dhruv Jurel lbw. From the other end, Rashid returned to send back Shimron Hetmyer, leaving Royals 96 for 8. The last two wickets took Royals to 118, which was never going to be enough.
Saha off to a flier
It’s not often when a team is all out and the opposition’s wicketkeeper isn’t involved in any of the dismissals. Still, Saha showed his class behind the stumps with an excellent one-handed save when Noor sprayed one way down the leg side.
Saha wasn’t done, though. With Gill taking his time in the chase, he smashed five fours in the first 13 balls he faced. Four of them came off Trent Boult, the Royals’ powerplay weapon.
Hardik in a hurry
After Titans’ defeat to Delhi Capitals, Hardik had taken “full ownership” for not closing out the chase as he struggled to find any rhythm despite scoring an unbeaten half-century. He corrected that here.
After Yuzvendra Chahal broke the opening stand by having Gill stumped for 36 off 35 balls, Hardik teed off straightaway. He had faced just two balls before smashing Adam Zampa for 6, 4, 6, 6 off successive deliveries. Despite Saha slowing down after the powerplay, Hardik’s assault meant Titans crossed the line with 37 balls left.
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo