Mohali, Apr 12 (PTI):
Defending champions Gujarat Titans, smarting from Rinku Singh’s last-over blitzkrieg, would like to forget that nightmarish night and get back to winning ways when they take on gritty Punjab Kings in an Indian Premier League match here on Thursday.
GT had several heroes on that electrifying night, including young Sai Sudarshan, Vijay Shankar and the hat-trick man from Afghanistan Rashid Khan, who led the side in place of unwell Hardik Pandya. But Rinku had other ideas.
When the match looked as good as over, the Uttar Pradesh batter pulled the rabbit out of the hat for Kolkata Knight Riders, smashing five maximums in the last over to stun the home team.
That last-ball defeat will hurt GT for years to come but, in the immediate, they would like to forget it and get on with the next game.
Going by their current form, PBKS’ eight-wicket loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad could just be an aberration, given the form of their captain Shikhar Dhawan and young left-arm bowler Arshdeep Singh.
Dhawan’s innings in Hyderabad on April 9 was a testament to the stalwarts’ resilience and his ability to stay composed as wickets fell like ninepins at the other end.
His 99 in a losing cause was far bigger and better than playing a winning hand in the match against Rajasthan Royals with an unbeaten 86, or a stroke-filled 40 against KKR.
GT would be wary of Dhawan’s form and Hardik would know all too well how the veteran Delhi cricketer would be itching to once again prove himself.
GT though have their own firepower, boasting of the likes of Gill, top-order batter Sudarshan and Shankar — late bloomer at 32 –, who struck an unbeaten 24-ball 63 to guide the side to a 200-plus total in their game against KKR.
Had it not been for Rinku’s breathtaking last-over mayhem, Vijay could well have been patting his back for the wonderful effort. Unfortunately, that was not to be and things turned upside-down in the last over bowled by Yash Dayal.
GT would perhaps take a second look at their bowling combination and see how they can rotate their bowlers more efficiently.
With four premier bowlers in Shami, Josh Little, Alzarri Joseph and Rashid in their team, they shouldn’t have lost the game after posting 204. But, then, this is IPL and there are one Rinku too many itching to prove themselves.
Mohali, Apr 12 (PTI):