IPL 2023: Defending champion Gujarat Titans will take some stopping

Can't ask for anything better, Hardik said after the 56-run win over Lucknow

By Team KT

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Gujarat Titans' Shubman Gill plays a shot during the match against Lucknow Super Giants. — AFP
Gujarat Titans' Shubman Gill plays a shot during the match against Lucknow Super Giants. — AFP

Published: Sun 7 May 2023, 9:12 PM

If Gujarat Titans continues to produce the performance it displayed against Lucknow Super Giants on Sunday, it will be a real struggle for the rest of the field to stand up to the defending champion.

Skipper Hardik Pandya was delighted after the team's comprehensive 56-run win over Lucknow, a side led by his brother Krunal.

This was the eighth win in 11 matches for Gujarat, taking its tally to 16 points and closer to the playoffs.

The Titans, propelled to its highest-ever total of 227 for two courtesy a franchise record 142-run partnership between Shubman Gill (94 not out) and Wriddhiman Saha (81), came back strongly in the second half of LSG's chase to emerge winner in a comprehensive manner.

Chasing 228, LSG was comfortably placed at 102 for one at the halfway mark but the wheels came off eventually, with GT tying down its batters with tight overs.

Despite Quinton de Kock's brilliant 70 in his first game this season and Kyle Mayers' brisk 48 at the top, LSG middle-order crumbled against a mountainous chase to concede the contest, finishing at 171 for seven in 20 overs.

"Can't ask for anything better, especially after playing post a day's gap and in the afternoon," Hardik said after the match.

It was also the first time that two brothers were leading the rival teams in an IPL match.

"It's a dream come true for us, leading our respective sides," Krunal, 32, said.

Hardik, a regular in the national side and a much bigger star than Krunal, said: "Big, emotional day for the family, our father would have been proud."

But the brothers showed no emotion once they stepped on the field as Hardik played a brilliant cameo (25 off 15 balls) before he was caught by Krunal off Mohsin Khan.

The stars of the Gujarat's innings was Saha and Gill who went hammer and tongs from the word go to add 142 runs for the first wicket in only 12.1 overs, setting the franchise record for highest partnership for any wicket, as LSG had no respite despite deploying eight bowlers into the attack.

It was also the second-best stand for any team and for any wicket in this IPL, whereas for Gujarat Titans, the total was its highest-ever in IPL since its debut last season.

Gujarat Titans also bettered their overall record for most runs in the powerplay.

Having hit 65 against Chennai Super Kings in the season-opener, the Saha-Gill pair went ballistic to add 78 runs in the first six overs, scoring at 13 runs per over.

Saha looked set for his second IPL century - his first came nine years ago in IPL 2014 - but a sharp catch at deep midwicket by substitute Prerak Mankad off Avesh ended his assault. (with inputs from PTI)

Brief scores

Gujarat Titans beats Lucknow Super Giants by 56 runs.

Gujarat Titans 227/2 (Shubman Gill 94 not out, Wriddhiman Saha 81; Avesh Khan 1/34) Lucknow Super Giants 171/7 (Quinton de Kock 71, Kyle Mayers 48; Mohit Sharma 4/29)

Man-of-the-match: Shubman Gill


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